It took a while, but Mark Aquino finally won his first North American championship after several close calls. The District 25 president and Shome Mukherjee parlayed two strong sessions in the Baldwin North American Pairs, Flight A, to win the event by a board and a half on a 13 top.

The Boston-area players are retired, Aquino from Procter & Gamble-Gillette, Mukherjee from the University of Massachusetts, where he taught math until 2004. He still teaches at the school part-time. “They won’t let me retire,” he says.

The win was gratifying for Aquino, whose close finishes include a runner-up spot in the 2004 Nail Life Master Pairs (with Jonathan Green) and a third in the Silver Ribbon Pairs with Mukherjee, who had two previous North American championships. He was a member of the winning squad in the 1997 Keohane North American Swiss Teams and the Baze Senior Knockout Teams in 2000.

The winners moved from back in the pack to second after the first final session with a 60.43% game, then followed with 61.39% in the second final session.

Richard Oshlag of Memphis TN  and Jim Munday of Southaven MS placed second in the NAP, Flight A.