Votto 'flattened by a 9-year-old' in 1st chess tournament

November 29th, 2022

CINCINNATI -- During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, Reds first baseman Joey Votto intensified his interest and love for chess. Votto often worked on that craft with some of the similar diligence he has long put into hitting.

Until Monday, Votto played his opponents online. On Instagram, he posted that he was playing against someone in person.

“First Over The Board chess tournament. Wish me luck,” Votto wrote.

“Good luck king,” the Reds’ official Instagram account replied.

Apparently, Votto’s first foray over the board didn’t go well. 

“I got flattened by a 9-year-old. More like pawn,” Votto replied to the Reds.

In April of last season, Votto posted about being given a chance to meet former chess world champion Garry Kasparov at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. That city is also home to the World Chess Hall of Fame.

“Before they could finish their sentence, I was sprinting to the field as if beating out an infield single,” Votto wrote about Kasparov. “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.”

Votto, 39, has spent the offseason rehabilitating from August surgery to repair tears in his left shoulder and biceps and posted on Friday that he had taken his first swings.