Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto Apparently Loses Chess Tournament to a Kid

Votto was "more like pawn" than a king, he said.

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click to enlarge Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto's swanky outfit did not help him in a recent chess tournament. - Photo: instagram/joeyvotto
Photo: instagram/joeyvotto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto's swanky outfit did not help him in a recent chess tournament.

Joey Votto looked dapper this week. Full beard. Suspenders. Bright kicks.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for what he was facing.

Votto took to Instagram on Nov. 28 to share that he was about to complete in his first in-person chess tournament. The longtime Cincinnati Reds' first baseman had shared posts about working on his chess game during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now he finally was ready to take his training and competition offline.

"First Over The Board chess tournament. Wish me luck 😀," Votto posted.

Naturally, the Cincinnati Reds were supportive, with the team's account replying to Votto's post with "Good luck king."

Alas, Votto still needs some training from a chess Yoda, it seems. "I got flattened by a 9 year old. More like pawn," he responded to the Reds.

That didn't seem to matter to fans, who shared encouragement in the replies.

"Gotta start somewhere. No place but up from here," @travelabbieg said.

"Cosmo Kramer had similar struggles during his karate classes but eventually worked his way up to the top of the class," @jordan_tm24 added, making a Seinfeld reference.

"A chess rite of passage, the kids can be scary good," said @wwwchesscom, an account for a chess competition and resource website.

Votto's love of the game is legit. In April, he posted a photo of himself standing with legendary chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

"Sitting in my locker playing chess before the game, I get a tap on my shoulder. 'Garry Kasparov is here.' Before they could finish their sentence I was sprinting to the field as if beating out an infield single," Votto posted. "Shaking hands with the greatest chess player of all time, he looks at my phone and asks, oh, you’re playing a match? Let me see! Then proceeds to immediately sacrifice my queen. Yo, whatcha doing bud? I think to myself. Then… magic! Bing, bing, bing, game over."

Votto, who was drafted by the team in 2002 and saw his first major-league game for the franchise in 2007, has played his entire career in a Reds uniform while reaching big-time club and league milestones. Despite the future Reds (and Cooperstown?) Hall of Famer's efforts, the Reds already were faltering in 2022 when Votto's nagging injuries finally screamed for help, culminating in season-ending rotator cuff surgery on Aug. 19. Votto is projected to be healed in time for spring training and the 2023 season.

The Cincinnati Reds will kickstart 2023 with a home opener against National League Central opponent the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30 at Great American Ball Park.

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