China’s Chen Zhao and Jing Liu won the four-session Lebhar IMP Pairs, holding off a challenge by runners-up Fred King and Barry Bragin. Chen and Jing’s margin of victory was 1.8 IMPs.

For Chen, a PhD student at the University of Maryland in computer science, and Jing, who plays for China’s national team which made it to the quarterfinal round of the last two Bermuda Bowls, it was their first North American title.

The duo has been playing together for less than a year, but they have been practicing extensively online because of distance: Chen is a first-year doctoral candidate living inCollege Park MD, while Jing lives in Beijing.

Jing praised his partner, saying, “Our new system is very complicated, but [Chen] is very smart: He learned it in just two months.”

The winners qualified in 34th place in Friday’s opening round, but had took control of the lead in the first final session. They finished with a four-session total of 120.07 IMPs (35.98 in the first final, including carryover, and a strong 84.09 in the second) to edge out King and Bragin who scored 118.27.