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This story has been told by Christian speakers as far back as 1955 when Billy Graham told a variation of it early in his ministry.


Two men are standing in front of a painting called Checkmate in an art gallery. In the painting, a man is playing chess with the devil. The devil is grinning ear-to-ear because he has the man cornered. The title of the painting, Checkmate, indicates that the game is over. The devil has won the soul of his opponent in this chess match and he has no more moves left.


The first man looking at the painting wants to move on to other paintings in the gallery. But the second man, a chess champion, wants to look at the painting longer, so he waves his friend on and tells him he will catch up later. The chess champion stares and stares at the chess board, then suddenly he steps back, flabbergasted.

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