Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Last Checkmate by Gabriella Saab

Maria was caught during one of her resistance jobs, and her entire family was punished and sent to Auschwitz.

Her family was murdered when they arrived, but Maria was sent to the camp simply because she had slowed up to look at something.  She wishes she would have been murdered too.

The camp officer, Fritzsch, was the most evil person she had ever known.  He enjoyed hurting people both physically and mentally.  This officer also found out Maria played chess, and he made her play chess against other prisoners and himself. 

Playing chess helped her stay alive even though she wishes she were dead.

THE LAST CHECKMATE describes the horrors the prisoners went through and how Maria kept on fighting as her friend Father Kolbe told her to do.

Maria tries to get Fritzsch in trouble so they will transfer him.  She goes through more horrors when this happens. 

She knows he is the one who had her family killed and vows to make sure he is punished after the war when she finds out he survived.

She met him and challenged him to a game of chess in the same place where he had treated her like an animal.

How will the game turn out?  Will Fritzsch win as he always did even without his wartime power or will Maria triumph?

THE LAST CHECKMATE is very well written, very well researched, has a very clever use of a chess game within the story line, but very difficult to read as any WWII book.  

An amazing, heart wrenching debut. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. An excellent debut!!

    Do not miss if you are a fan of historical fiction.

    Thanks for stopping.

  2. Replies
    1. You will love it.

      Thanks for your comment, Alex.

  3. You have discovered some really great historical fiction.

  4. This seems a unique view - and maybe a tough read. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes...a rough WWII read, but very well done for a debut.

      Thanks for your comment, Martha.