After a tough first match against Macclesfield A there was no respite for ECA with a home game against the heavyweights of Division 1, Marple A.
Marple had several of their top players missing but with a very strong top two boards they were always favourites. Here is how it went.
1. Steve 0-1 A Longson (221)
Steve played a solid Caro Kann and steadily swapped off pieces, entering a Bishop ending where he had a slightly worse pawn structure but good chances of holding. However, in true Bobby Fischer style he allowed his Bishop to get trapped and had to give it up for two pawns. Although it looked like his extra pawns may give him some chances, Steve's King was tied to the defense of some weak Kingside pawns meaning that Alex could mop up the extra pawns on the Queenside.
2. John 0.5-0.5 M Fernandez (212)
John played his normal Queen's Gambit and got a level position but didn't manage to create much pressure. His opponent started to make threats on the Kingside but John successfully neutralised his opponent's initiative. In the endgame John's King went on the rampage and with Michael's clock ticking away it looked like an upset could be on the cards but Michael managed to defend and a draw was agreed.
3. Phil 0.5-0.5 G Trueman (176)
Glenn played a quiet system against my King's Indian and surprised me with some early pawn pushes on the Queenside. I got my pieces in a bit of a tangle but managed to defend against persistent Knight fork threats. In the end Glenn allowed me to swap off all the pieces and the game fizzled out into a draw.
4. Kieran 0-1 P Kirby (167)
It seems that the Newell family have a penchant for backward e pawns. Kieran's slow opening system didn't seem to give Paul too many problems and when Kieran ended up with a backward pawn on a half open file Paul exploited it in textbook fashion. Has he been reading "My System"? The Nimzo Attack beaten by Nimzo's System.
5. Dave N 0.5-0.5 A Jenkins (143)
Dave played his favourite Dutch and achieved a very comfortable position but his opponent played actively enough and with Dave short on time a draw was agreed.
6. David T 0-1 A Hall (120)
David's beloved Reti didn't seem to yield any real threats and David ended up a pawn down with several weak pawns to defend. Ultimately David could not hold the endgame.
So a tough match and a fair result. We complete our tour of the top teams in two weeks with a home match against Holmes Chapel.