THE DIARY: Bus driver’s the best at mind games

Richard Ratcliffe
Richard Ratcliffe
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AND talking of unusual hobbies...

Move over Jessica Ennis, here’s Sheffield’s latest gold medallist Olympian.

Upperthorpe bus driver Richard Ratcliffe won top gong at this summer’s Mind Sport Olympics, also held in London.

He took the prize in Stratego, a fiendishly complex French board game similar to chess and played by 40 million people worldwide.

“Am I expecting a reception in Barker’s Pool?” ponders the 40-year-old father-of-four “Perhaps not but I’m still delighted.”

It’s the fourth gold he has won – although it should be noted the Mind Sports Olympiad take place every year, rather than every four.

And what next for this cerebral Steve Redgrave?

There’s no time for rest because it’s straight onto the Stratego World Championships in the Netherlands this weekend.

He’s had the last week off work to practise and today he’ll be in his car heading for Haastrecht to face down 60 opponents from across the globe.

He won it last year when it was held in Newcastle, as previously reported in The Diary. But he fears it may be difficult retaining the title on foreign soil.

“The host nation always tends to do well,” says Richard, of Sherde Road, Walkley. “But I’m confident. Not many people have ever retained the world title. If I do it, while also an Olympic champion, I’d be over the moon.”