CheckmateProper‘Check mate’, is a term in the game of chess used when one corners the opponent’s king. Although I am not an expert in the game, I have particular interest and have been introducing it to our six year old son the last couple of weeks. I had noted that he losses interest in things rather fast and thought the game would help develop a sense of focus on a predetermined end.

The first few games were pretty exciting for him, not because he was getting to the object of the game or even winning against me, but more so as he counted the number of pieces of mine he had managed to remove from the game. He kept counting them against mine and at times he got more of my pieces than I’d get of his. That was excitement enough for him and he has kept asking that we play again and again.

In all this I have not allowed him to win any game even though his mom (my wife) thinks that I should to encourage him and keep him interested in the game. I am however of a differing opinion – that allowing him to win will give him a false confidence. As it is, the downing of my pieces keeps him interested enough to keep asking for another game.

Last night as we had a game with him, I decided it’s high time I introduced him to the real object of the game. I targeted his king from the first move and in not more than four moves, I got his king on ‘check’. As I did this, I kept the pieces around my king intact and as usual he was aiming at removing as many pieces of mine as possible. As it is with the game, once a player is on ‘check’, he’s got to protect their king either by moving it to a safer position , or shielding it with another piece. If there is no move possible to protect the king without exposing it to the opponent, it is considered ‘check mate’ and the opponent wins. So Victor had of necessity to shift his focus from the capturing of my pieces to protecting his king. I kept the pressure on the king with every move until the game ended with barely five pieces from the game.


1. Keep your king in view.

On our journey of faith, the temptation is ever so present to focus on our surroundings instead of Him. Both challenges like in the case of Peter or good things like in 1 Corinthians 12 can be a distraction from the King. In all circumstances we need to keep the King Central;

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; (Heb 12:2)

All the blessings and gifts are to serve the King’s end for:

“...we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

2. One thing is needful.

The game reminded me the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus visited their home. Martha was very busy serving the master she forgot to behold Him, while Mary choose just to keep her attention on Jesus. Jesus said that what Mary had chosen was all that was necessary:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.(Luke 10:42)

3. Not all battles are necessary hence the casualties.

One interesting aspect of the game is that as long as the king is secure, even if all other pieces are lost the game continues. On the contrary, if the king is cornered, even if no other piece is lost, the game is over. Battles to get involved in are only necessary to the extent they threaten our view of Christ. Dear saint, because you have Jesus, even if you loose all else, you have all for you:

10 … have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
(Col 3)