Yogi Berra said it, so it must be true: "It ain't over till it's over." Of course he was talking about baseball but it applies equally to chess.
Here's a famous position (attributed to Alexander Alekhine) that illustrates the point. You can move the pieces around on the board; they'll return to the current position if you click on "Reset".
Faced with the threat of Qh8# Alekhine's opponent resigned. Alekhine offered to reverse the board and continue. His opponent agreed and the game continued, 1 ...Rh4, 2. Nxh4 Qc3. Once again faced with the threat of mate on the move the opponent resigned. Once again Alekhine offered to reverse the board. The game concluded 3.Qh8+ Kxh8, 4. Ng6+ Kg8, 5. Rh8#. Yogi would have loved it.
Alexander Alekhine - Another
A travelling companion once said, "Hey, Yogi, I think we're lost." "Yeah," said Yogi, "but we're making great time." In the following game between Igor Bjelobrk and FM Bruce Watson at the New Zealand Zonal in January Bruce resigned in the following position. He missed 37...Qxg2+ 38. Bxg2 Re1+ 39. Bf1 Rxf1 mate. Lee Jones said that Bruce had been playing very quickly—he was lost but he was making great time!
|Igor Bjelobrk - Bruce Watson|
Once during a hot summer Yogi complained, "It ain't the heat; it's the humility." Humility isn't something the average chess player has to worry about but sometimes when we're pitted against an opponent rated a few hundred points above us the psychological factor comes into play and we sit at the board expecting to lose. It was Yasser Seirawan who observed that under-confidence and over-confidence are both failings but, of the two, under-confidence is the worst.
There was a David and Goliath battle in the third round of the Australian Open this year but paradoxically David was Goliath. IM David Smerdon (Goliath) just back from a successful Olympiad and rated 2431 was challenged by Jason Hu (David) rated 1873. Jason didn't let the 558 rating points separating them bamboozle him and set about giving his stronger opponent a chess lesson. It's an entertaining game and you can play through it HERE
It's a pity Yogi didn't play chess instead of baseball. He'd have changed the way we think about the game. After all, he's the guy who said, "You give 100% in the first half of the game and, if that isn't enough, in the second half you give what's left."
Of all the things attributed to Yogi Berra, "I didn't say all the things I said," is paradoxically the truest.
Yogi was born in St. Louis where he grew up in an Italian-American neighbourhood known as The Hill. A few doors from his home in Elizabeth Street lived a boy of his own age named Joe Garagiola. They were friends, playmates, and their shared love of baseball saw both of them progress to the Major League as adults.
Joe was a catcher. As a teenager was considered a better prospect than Yogi and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals at age 16. He never quite lived up to the promise of his youth but played 676 games in a nine year career.
It was when he retired from professional baseball his real career began—he became a television broadcaster.
Although he was best known as a baseball broadcaster Joe was also host of the Today Show, Memory Game, He Said–She Said, Sale of the Century, To Tell the Truth, and a few others.
So, if Yogi didn't say the things he said, who was responsible? Take a bow Joe Garagiola. He and Yogi remained firm friends but it was Joe who invented all those Yogi-isms that have become such a fun part of the language.
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