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CHESS, MATE?

Keen observers will have noticed table tennis has ping ponged back into the city this week.

More than 25 tables have been installed around Sheffield after a similar scheme was a success last year, as this paper revealed yesterday.

Great stuff. It’s testament to the popularity of the initiative – dubbed Ping! – that you could hardly ever get to go on a table last year. And that’s not because the balls kept going missing. They just always seemed to be in use.

But here’s a thought: if ping pong has proved so popular, why not install similar games and activities across the city?

Four Sheffield primary schools have just put chess on their curriculum because it improves strategic thinking, encourages problem solving and increases communication skills. And if it’s good for kids, surely it would be good for the rest of us too.

Perhaps Sheffield, therefore, should follow in the footsteps of American towns and have a handful of outdoor boards in areas like Devonshire Green or the Peace Gardens for people to try. Surely some well-being or healthy-mind body or quango could be persuaded to fund such a scheme.

And if that works, why not go further? Draughts boards perhaps. Hop scotch on pavements maybe. The odd outdoor summer pool table even.

The ping pong tables have worked.

Why not now get creative, build on the success and turn Sheffield into a city where there’s always a game to be played?

WHEELY WELL Deserved

And talking of successful schemes, a Take Two congratulations to the volunteers behind the restoration of the 16th century Shepherd Wheel in Whiteley Woods.

The scheme has been nominated for a prestigious English Heritage Angel award, as reported in The Star.

Well deserved too. About 30,000 people have visited the site since it opened in 2012. This writer is one of them. And it’s magnificent. For anyone with any interest in Sheffield history, it’s a must-see.