John Hurd and Justin Lall, the leaders in the Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs after four qualifying sessions, upped their lead in the first final session with a 63.96% game on their way to victory by more than a board.

Two Chicago-area players – Nick Demirev and Eldad Ginossar – were second.

Hurd and Lall, playing together for only the second time, led by 2.82 matchpoints at the start of play Thursday. They increased their lead to 29.08 midway through the final and scored 53.84% score in the evening session to win comfortably. Top was 35. Their final margin over the runners-up was 43.87 matchpoints.

Hurd and Lall are first-time winners of the Blue Ribbon Pairs, but they have separate victories in the Norman Kay Platinum Pairs – Hurd with Joel Wooldridge in 2011, Lall with Bob Hamman in 2012. Hurd now has five North American titles, Lall four.

The only other time Hurd and Lall played together was at a regional in Las Vegas last summer.

The second final session was interrupted briefly after the 11th round when it was necessary to call for medical assistance for one of the Blue Ribbon finalists. The player did not return to the game. The two pairs who did not get to play the final two rounds were given average-plus on the four boards they did not get to play. There was no word on the condition of the player who became ill.