Sihamba Sonke Graphic Design


Chess illustrations made to paint on walls and used for education to children that have never heard about Jesus. These illustrations are used in conjunction with teaching these children the game of chess to have as a reminder every time the play the game.

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A Game Like – Life

The Gospel According to Chess


The Gospel:
  1. Creation: We were made perfect in relationship with a loving God. (Colossians 1:16)
  2. Sin: We separated ourselves from our lifeline and therefore need a Redeemer. Our own strength cannot save us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  3. Salvation: Jesus came as the Redeemer and took our place in sacrificing His life for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 1:4)
  4. Commission: Jesus overcame the devil and death when He rose to life after the crucifixion! Revelation 1:18. Even though the enemy is defeated eternally, we are still waging war temporarily – seeking to save those still imprisoned (2 Timothy 2:4)


The link with chess:

An object story using chess pieces can explain the gospel points 1-4. The goal is to enable anyone who teaches someone else to play chess, to share the gospel. Instructions are given to illustrate the story on the chess board. The story should be told interactively. There are also 4 illustrations which can be painted against a wall of a school/church or printed in a booklet for a visual experience of the analogy.


Part 1 – Creation (Setting the scene)

1a. Once upon a time there was a Father who proclaimed His Son the King. The King ruled with His Father’s authority, together with the Queen. They lived in a beautiful castle. The kingdom was known as flowing with milk and honey because He was a great King, well known all over the world for his might and strength. No one dared to invade His Kingdom. In all of history there had never been a single successful attack against the King. Everyone lived a truly prosperous life, and no one lacked anything. The queen frequently represented the King and befriend the people. She knew everyone by name. It was a close knit community.

[Place the king and queen on the board with the castles in the corners.]

1b. There was a river between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness, their enemies. To protect the kingdom from their enemies, they had soldiers who guarded the kingdom. There was only one rule: ‘DO NOT enter the enemy’s territory, because you will then go beyond the safety of the Kingdom.’ No one was allowed to cross the river into the Kingdom of Darkness.

[Optional – Show this 1 minute clip from Lion King where Mofasa explains to Simba where the boundaries are of their Kingdom and that they should stay on their side to have peace.]

[Place the pawns (soldiers) on the board, showing how they form a line to protect the kingdom.]

1c. These soldiers were managed by the King’s generals whose duties were to oversee and manage the daily tasks. The generals had to be trusted by the King and Queen and only those with the utmost integrity, who had proven strong character over many years, were chosen to serve. Since the requirements were so high, only bishops could become generals. Each morning before the day started, the generals would meet with the King and Queen to get instructions for the day and give feedback on the current events in the Kingdom.

[Place the bishops next to the king and queen. Now explain why they are put next to the king and queen.]

[Optional – Show a clip from the opening scene of Gladiator, where Maximus is the General on a horse leading the battle, where the King is safe in the background – – Show from 1 minute to 3 minutes 55 seconds]

1d. Because of the generals’ many errands to ensure the kingdom remained peaceful and prosperous, they had to be mobile. Each general therefore had a horse so they could quickly go from village to village and mobilise the soldiers. The generals’ horses were the best in the Kingdom. They moved swiftly and were able to jump over any obstacle.

[Place the last missing pieces from the chess board, the horses next to each of the bishops.]


Illustration 1 (Creation)

01-Creation[A chess board with all the pieces. The Kingdom of Light side has small villages in front of the soldiers, where people prosper and are happy. A river divides the two kingdoms and on the other side, the Kingdom of Darkness looks dark and barren, like a graveyard with dry bones filled with unhappiness.]


Part 2 – Sin (Two soldiers trespass )

2a. One day, the queen of the Kingdom of Darkness subtly enticed a soldier who went awol (away from the protection of the platoon) to come explore the unknown territory beyond the river.

[Move the rightmost side pawn two blocks forward to just before the river line to H4.]

2b. Another soldier, his best friend, followed and tried to call him back as he knew the king’s order clearly prohibited the direction they were going.

[Move the second pawn two blocks forward next to the other pawn before the river line to G4.]

2c. But the first soldier talked him into trespassing with him into the seemingly exciting new territory. They deliberately disobeyed the King’s orders and crossed the river together.

[Move the first pawn one block across the river to H5. Move the second pawn also one black across the river to G5, to show that they are both disobeying the King.]

2d. After a long day’s work, one general took a walk to his favourite viewpoint to see the sunset, together with his guarding soldier companion.

[Move the Bishop to H3, so simulate the general going for a walk to a viewpoint.]

2e. In the distance the general saw the two soldiers who were going off to the graveyard, crossing the river without his permission. He immediately went after them. He told his bodyguard to inform the other general and bring the whole army, since they could invoke all the powers of the Kingdom of Darkness through this breach. The general knew this will certainly disrupt the peace everyone enjoyed for centuries.

[Move the two pawns to G6 and H6 and all the pieces except the king and queen, castle and horse on G1 towards the place on the board where the two soldiers crossed around F4, G4 & H4.]

2f. As the army arrived, the general shouted: “It is too late, they already crossed the river and are far into the enemy’s territory. Let’s follow them before they are captured. We are going to be in so much trouble for allowing this to happen. We have to save them.” Although they had good intentions, it was not in their power to save the disobedient soldiers, without consulting the King.

[Move all the pieces except the king, queen and castles into the top right corner of the board at G8 and H8, with the black soldiers around them keeping them imprisoned.]

2g. And sure enough, everyone was captured. Only when in prison, the generals and all the soldiers realised they had disobeyed the King, but it was too late! They were stuck. Now they need a saviour, or it would be all over.


Illustration 2 (Sin)

02-Sin[Everybody is captured! On the chess board all the white pawns, one horse and two bishops are in the top corner G8 and H8 with the black soldiers around them keeping them imprisoned.]



Part 3 – Salvation (The Redeeming King Falls and prepares the way to freedom)

3a. When the King wanted to meet with His people the following morning, He immediately realised they were captured. So He went to His Father for advice. He did nothing outside the wisdom of His Father, to whom he submitted in everything.

His Father said: “My son, there is only one way to rescue your beloved people. It is going to be the biggest quest anyone has even undertaken. Go and surrender yourself to the enemy, in exchange for their lives. Your life is worth more than theirs. The enemy will let them go if he can have you.”

The King knew why His Father said this would be the hardest thing anyone had ever done. He knew the King of Darkness’s reputation for bringing down leaders and that he had always been jealous of how the Kingdom of Light prospered compared to his graveyard.

The King asked His Father if there was another way. His Father cried as He said there wasn’t. He even prepared the King by telling Him His very own people would not recognize Him anymore, because they were brainwashed in prison. But the Father said if He would fall and descend into darkness, He could dig a tunnel back to His Throne. He would make the way for the prisoners to gain freedom through this tunnel, even though it would be narrow.

The King was incredibly anxious. He spent the night with the Queen who encouraged Him. She reminded Him of the original plan to crown the whole village as royalty, making them all queens. She told Him that after He has digged the tunnel, she will replace Him and usher the prisoners through the tunnel and mobilise the generals again to go back for those who are to frightened to go through the narrow way. This made the King determined to go rescue His beloved people from prison.

[Place the horse and the King in front of the enemy. Explain in chess, why the horse moves in an L shape, which symbolizes LOVE, as this was an act of ultimate LOVE when the King gave His life in exchange for His people.]

3b. Meanwhile, the enemy couldn’t believe his luck when the King of Light surrendered to to him. He thought without a leader the people would be doomed and he could rule the whole world. So they tortured the King of Light and He fell. He descended into darkness

[Let the king fall and pass through the bottom of the chess board]

But the enemy didn’t know when the King descended, He was actually making a way for the prisoners to escape back to the Kingdom of Light.

[Move the white pieces underneath the board back to their original side]


Illustration 3 (Salvation)

03-Salvation[The King Himself comes to rescue us! A way is made for prisoners to go free.

The horse moves in an L-shape, symbolizing love. The king falls before the enemy, luring them away from the prisoners.]


Part 4 – Commission (The war wages on with sure victory)

4a. After the King of Light fell, the enemy’s army wanted to go after the prisoners. He didn’t realise the King of Light would return stronger, with the Queen and His horse and trap him in such way, that the other prisoners could break completely free from prison.

[Use the King, Queen and Horse to place the other king in chessmate]

4b. When the King of Darkness fell the Kingdom of Darkness was left without authority. “The King is our Victorious Warrior and Way-Maker!” shouted the generals! “The enemy is stripped of authority. Let us prepare to fight all who are left and mobilise the soldiers to free the civilians still stuck in prison!”.

[Set the pieces back as normal, but without the black king. The game can begin with the object already achieved… The black king has been checkmated. ]

4c. With the help of the Queen everyone who was willing to go with her and the generals were saved from prison. Those who wanted to stay in prison, were eventually completely buried in the graveyard. In the end only the Kingdom of Light remained.

[Set all the white pieces in a group around the castles, and take all the black pieces off the board, together with one or two white pawns (who decided not to go through the narrow way).]

Chess Christian_Page_4

Summary blurbs of the 4-part story:

1. Once upon a time there was a great and loving King of Light who lived in a castle and his loyal subjects prospered.

2. Two of His delegates breached the divide of the Graveyard kingdom across the river and the whole army who tried to rescue them got captured.

3. The King went to the ultimate extreme to rescue them in the Graveyard – He fell, but when He fell He digged a narrow tunnel back to His throne.

4. The battle was conquered and the prisoners set free and empowered by the queen to help those still in chains get back to the abundant life.


In Conclusion: The Great Commission for the church

Now that the gospel is shared, discuss the values of each chess piece and explain its relationship with the gospel. Focus especially on the pawn who are able to be transformed into a queen, symbolizing how one day we will become co-rulers with the King in eternity, as His bride – His church – a Royal Priesthood.

“Each move on the chessboard is like a choice in life. The person who consistently makes the better moves wins the game…”

How do we consistently make good moves or good choices in life? By following the values we learn from each piece and living them out with a community of believers.

You eventually take responsibility for each move you make. It’s your choice. Which Kingdom do you choose? Deuteronomy 30:19


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