Percy (Shorty) Sheardown was a graduate in classics from the University of Toronto with a natural affinity for languages. He served overseas in World War II and, declining a commission, became one of the top interrogators of prisoners of war.
Stationed in London, he continued his bridge partnership with the late Brigadier Donald Farquharson at Crockford’s. It was an odd spectacle for the English to see a lowly NCO explain to the brigadier how the superior officer had erred.
In fact, the Sheardown–Farquharson partnership was so effective that complaints of cheating at Crockford’s rained down upon them. The complaints eventually died a natural death when other players realized that the pair had an extremely effective partnership and was honest beyond reproach.
Shorty was a superb declarer and defender and unquestionably one of the greatest matchpoint and board-a-match players of his generation. Being a rubber bridge player, he was hesitant to bid slams; the predilection encouraged his partners to overbid, which in turn was justified by Shorty’s card play.
Shorty’s longtime partnership with Bruce Elliott was exceedingly successful, and his masterful abilities were recognized by the experts of the day, including occasional partners Ely Culbertson and Waldemar von Zedtwitz.
Sheardown became Canada’s first Life Master in 1948 and represented Canada at the World Team Olympiads in Turin and Deauville during the 1960s. His first major victory was the 1936 Chicago Trophy, originally donated by the Auction Bridge Club of Chicago in 1929 for the North American Open Team B-A-M Championship. He twice won the Spingold and was second in the Life Master Pairs.