Dennis Bilde and Alon Birman are two longtime friends who played together only one time before they entered the Nail Life Master Open Pairs in San Diego. Lying in 31st place after the first final session, they zoomed to the top with a 71.07% game to win the event by less than half a board.
Second place went to Frenchmen Quentin Robert and Godefroy De Tessieres. In third place was another French pair – Thomas Bessis and Frederic Volcker.
Blide, a Dane now living in Norway, and Birman, of Israel, played together for the first time in the Cavendish Invitational Pairs in Monaco in February of this year. They came in fifth.
In the Nail LM Pairs in San Diego, they did well on the first day, ending the second qualifying session in 11th place.
Things did not go as well in the first final session, however, and they dropped to 31st in the standings with a set to go. In the final set, they roared back, scoring 1422.91 matchpoints on the final 26 boards to finish with a total of 2635.08 MPs. The runners-up scored a total of 2599.64 matchpoints, just 35.44 MPs out of first. Top was 77.
Here are the final standings of the event.