Sylvia Shi and Pamela Granovetter won the Smith Life Master Women’ s Pairs after leading most of the way.

They finished 11 matchpoints on a top of 17 ahead of Georgiana Gates and Pat Levy of Houston TX.

It was the seventh NABC title for Shi and the eighth for Granovetter, their first together.

“My husband fixed us up,” Granovetter said. “He kept telling me, ‘ You should play with Sylvia.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to start a new partnership, I’ m too old.’ She right away learned our whole relay system. It’ s really complicated.”

The Granovetters’ system, which they call Gus, wasn’ t too complicated for Shi.

“It’ s a very fun system,” Shi said. “Lots of interesting decisions you don’ t face when you play standard.”

After a few years of meeting as opponents, Shi of Rockville MD and Granovetter of Cincinnati played together for the first time last fall in the Nail Life Master Pairs in Orlando, placing 15th.

Though the pair had always planned to play together this weekend, the Smith wasn’ t on their calendar until a couple of weeks ago when Granovetter had an unexpected availability.

They started with a bang, scoring their highest percentage, 66.32%, in Thursday’ s first qualifying session to lead the event. When they qualified in second place after a 54.95% in the second qualifying session, it was the only time a session ended without the pair leading. On Friday, they reclaimed the lead in the first final session with a 56.00% and put it away in the second final session with a 61.55%.

“We just tried to play well,” Shi said. “In the evening we had a few bad boards to start, but I think we finished strong.”