12 May 2017

The Prodigal Chess Player

The Flickr description said,

Section of the Prodigal Son window in St. Mary's parish church, Feltwell, Norfolk [England]. This is the eponymous son gambling away his money - he's just lost his shirt.

Prodigal: 'characterized by profuse or wasteful expenditure; recklessly spendthrift' • Merriam-Webster

Chess, Feltwell © Flickr user Steve Day under Creative Commons.

The parable of the Prodigal Son starts,

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. [...]" • Luke 15:11-32, The Parable of the Lost Son (biblegateway.com; New International Version)

Games aren't mentioned in the passage, so how did chess get stuck with the bum rap? It isn't normally associated with 'wild living'. That distinction is normally reserved for any game that involves dice.

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