Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge by Sandy Balfour - review by John Clay

John Clay

The Game Of Life

Vulnerable in Hearts: A Memoir of Fathers, Sons and Contract Bridge

By

Atlantic Books 197pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Sandy Balfour grew up in a bridge-playing household. ‘We were a family of five, which is the perfect number for bridge. Four to play and one to make tea.’ His father was passionate about the game and taught his three children from an early age. He dominated proceedings, keen to be declarer, not dummy. Sandy, the second son, was the only one to continue playing bridge. This book is a fusion of those two early influences, his father and contract bridge.

Balfour’s father had been sent to South Africa from Scotland at the outbreak of the Second World War, and remained there for the rest of his life. Bridge gave him his self-belief. ‘Away from it he shrank, not completely but noticeably. At the table – his precious “square yard of

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