I suspected. I believed. I had... faith. But I cannot say that I knew what you were going to do. (smiling) That is why you mortals have free will, you know. It gives us gods plausible deniability.
The gods play games with the fate of men. Not complex ones obviously, because gods lack patience. Cheating is part of the rules. And gods play hard. To lose all believers is, for a god, the end. But a believer who survives the game gains honour and extra belief. Who wins with the most believers, lives.
"The Gods... playing a strategy game."
"Aye, you've Seen that before, you have."
"No. Were. Stopped."
"That's good, then, eh?"
"No. Now... playing dice."
No gods anywhere play chess. They prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion. A key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.