My fascination with a board game called chess began as a child. And it was my father who taught me how to play while telling me a fancy story about a king and queen and their army.
As I grew older, I realized that this game I had loved since childhood had given me more than fun, as it improved my memory function.
Now it has a more significant impact on me as I look at it spiritually. And it all began when I became interested in “chess spiritual meaning,” which led me to search for it.
So what did I find out?
Let’s look at chess from a spiritual point of view rather than just a game of ancient war models played by two brilliant strategists.
Chess Paralleled to Life
Allan Rufus wrote in his book, The Master’s Sacred Knowledge, “life is like a game of chess.” He said, “to win, you have to make a move.”
Whether you like it or not, as a chess player, when it’s your turn to move, you must do so wisely because one wrong move can contribute to your defeat.
All pieces on the chessboard have their roles and movement patterns. And their fate and power depend on how you control them.
Reflecting on that, some things in life are within your control, like your dreams, opinions, desires, goals, attitudes, etc.
How you control these aspects of your life translates to the status of your relationships, careers, and businesses.
The Chessboard Represents a Battlefield
What comes into your mind when you hear “battlefield?”
Soldiers, war machines, destroyed infrastructure, and even casualties are probably some things you can imagine.
Technically, a battlefield is a piece of ground where a fight happens.
What do the most influential wars in history – the French Revolution, Napoleonic War, and World War I and II have in common? They all have battlefields.
The chessboard represents a battlefield. You place all your pieces in the first two horizontal rows, known as ranks, like assembling your army, readying for war.
Your king, queen, bishops, knights, and rooks occupy the first rank, while the second rank houses eight pawns. Since chess has a war pattern, playing feels like fighting another kingdom while defending your own.
And just like that, you face mixed daily battles while protecting the essential things in your life. And your victory is determined by how much effort you exert in your fights.
Using your deliberate strategy, you must take advantage of opportunities when you see them, learn and grow from your failures, and stand again from every defeat.
The Significance of Number 64
Most chessboards I’ve seen alternate black and white cubes. However, manufacturers have developed appealing colors in recent years, giving more choices for marketing purposes.
Whatever size your chessboard is, the fact that it has 64 cubes of light and dark colors remains.
So, why do chessboards have 64 cubes? The answer is that it is neither too large nor too small – just enough to move pieces and play the game, aside from the fact that 64 is a perfect square.
Regarding number 64, Esoteric Meanings came up with two analogies that help in the quest for the spiritual meaning of chess.
The I Ching and Codons
Number 64 is significant in a Chinese divination text called “I Ching,” which represents the possibilities of life.
Also, men have 64 codons in their DNA strands, wherein 61 act as amino acids and three as stop signals – similar to the number of cubes in a chessboard.
Are chessboards based on these two analogies? It still needs to be proven. However, they significantly contribute to “chess spiritual meaning.”
First, Eliot Weinberger stated in ChinaFile that I Ching had been a philosophical taxonomy of the universe for a thousand years and an oracle of one’s future.
Secondly, many bible believers claim god made humans in his image. Hence, the 64 codons in their DNA are divine masterpieces.
Lastly, with these in mind, playing chess feels like digging into the deeper meaning of life and realizing that there is a divine force responsible for the existence of everything in this universe.
There Is One King That Rules the Universe
There are numerous theories about how the universe came to be. Most of these are cosmological theories, such as the Big Bang, the Flat Earth, and the Geocentric Model.
And while proponents of these theories claim that theirs is the closest to the truth, a large population worldwide believes that one god is responsible for the universe’s existence – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are known for this belief.
So, how does the chess game relate to the “one god” dogma?
In the game, the most powerful and important piece is the king. Checkmating the kings spells the end of the game. Thus, he should be protected and able to escape freely.
The queen is his primary defender, and the bishops, the knights, and the rooks support her.
These are pieces of his divine kingdom and have special powers as they represent the angels in their three mystical categories called “seraphim,” “chayos,” and “ofanim” according to Yitzchok Adlerstein.
On the other hand, the eight pawns that occupy the second rank represent mortal humans. They give up their lives for the king as an act of worship.
They will, however, become queens once they reach the opponent’s first rank. That is the prize they receive for their persistence.
The opponent’s first rank represents “heaven” in the spiritual realm. And it is every believer’s ultimate goal because they claim their god, the god of the universe, can do anything for them.
You Can Start Reflecting
You can do a lot of reflections to bring out “chess spiritual meaning.” And how you arrive at this depends on your path and life circumstances.
Begin reflecting on your current situation and relating it to chess. Take note of what you’ve seen and felt.
Also, make time for journaling throughout the day, no matter how busy you are. Your journals are precious in your life journey. You can always go back and read to see how far you’ve come.
Close your eyes for a moment. And start your journey!