“Checkmate” Credits:

German painter Freidrich Moritz Retzsch depicted an exacerbated man playing chess with Satan as an angel looked on. He originally named the painting, “The Chess Players”. However, scholars have affectionately renamed the piece “Checkmate”, because it showed the human’s impending loss in this contest. Notice the confident smirk of Satan, while the man’s head is in his hand, wondering what to do next but feeling hopeless, it seems. Then there’s the angel looking on, clasping his hands, wanting to provide help, but cannot. This painting, which once hung in The Louvre Museum in Paris, was in the hands of a private collector when master chess champion Paul Morphy saw it. There are a couple different variations regarding the circumstances and the rest of the story (one of which really preaches well), but after studying the painting, Morphy said, “It ain’t over.” (paraphrased). He asked the host to set up a chessboard exactly like the one in the painting. Within a few moves, he had won the match.

Further examination of this piece shows the intentionality of the artist. The chessboard on top of a coffin shows this is a game of life and death. Then there are the dark caricatures of his chess pieces versus the peaceful, light pieces on the man’s side. Look at the arm of Satan’s chair shaped as a hand on top of a skull. It is our minds that are the battlefield of the devil, and he is crafty in his game. Retszch had masterfully hidden the truth in this painting all along, only later to be uncovered by a master chess champion.

Things may look bleak for you right now. You may be losing and see no way of escape. Others in your life may even try to rebrand you as nonessential, inconsequential, or irrelevant. You may be beginning to believe the false narrative that it’s over for you. That is the exact opposite of how the Father sees you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation

God has looked at your life and has said, “It ain’t over!” Whether it’s the loss of employment, loss of a loved one, depression, mental anxiety, or health issues, we are more than conquerors! He has already prepared a way of escape and victory through the finished work of His Son, Jesus. Let Christ be your Master Champion. Get up and let him make the moves for you. He’ll wipe that smirk right off the devil’s face!

In case you prefer the preachy version, I submit to you that “The King has one more move!”


Video, “The Secret of Die Schachspieler – S2E2” Jackson,

Jackson, Cleo III, “It Aint Over Yet”, Helping Others Communicate, May 25, 2014.

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