the great game of chess has been likened to the game of life. but maybe it is the game of life that is likened to game of .. chess, fidchell, hneftafl and so on. maybe people of all times have wanted to transfer the responsibility of life to that of a game, where one can win or lose more simply. games have rules. life… actually, life has not.
life is more like an overwhelming, full-bodied ocean that ebbs and flows in accordance to its own phases; that crushes those that happen underfoot and elevates those that are in the position to be kicked. the ‘rules’ of life are mere human attempts to predict, or to describe what this unbeatable ocean would or would not do on the surface. the underlying rules are left, well, to lie under. undiscovered.
and thus, the transfer, the extrapolation, the topological representation of the vast and infinitely complex into something less complex and not so infinite, something that has rules – human made, human-written, human-followed. and then, development of the mythological connection between this extrapolation and the real thing – like a clash of the titans, or some heavenly ludo, or as Terry Pratchett puts it in his Wyrd Sisters, “Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs”.
so king Conchobar plays for the life of Setanta, and Ender plays a weird computer game, and worlds get destroyed. what about life then? life, oblivious of the chess, goes on. unpredictably so.
(a wonderful illustration of the above is here: Jacek Yerka: Chess on island)