The Last Checkmate

The Last Checkmate

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Readers of Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz and watchers of The Queen’s Gambit won’t want to miss this amazing debut set during World War II. A young Polish resistance worker, imprisoned in Auschwitz as a political prisoner, plays chess in exchange for her life, and in doing so fights to bring the man who destroyed her family to justice.


Maria Florkowska is many things: daughter, avid chess player, and, as a member of the Polish underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, a young woman brave beyond her years. Captured by the Gestapo, she is imprisoned in Auschwitz, but while her family is sent to their deaths, she is spared. Realizing her ability to play chess, the sadistic camp deputy, Karl Fritzsch, decides to use her as a chess opponent to entertain the camp guards. However, once he tires of exploiting her skills, he has every intention of killing her.


Befriended by a Catholic priest, Maria attempts to overcome her grief, vows to avenge the murder of her family, and plays for her life. For four grueling years, her strategy is simple: Live. Fight. Survive. By cleverly provoking Fritzsch’s volatile nature in front of his superiors, Maria intends to orchestrate his downfall. Only then will she have a chance to evade the fate awaiting her and see him punished for his wickedness.


As she carries out her plan and the war nears its end, she challenges her former nemesis to one final game, certain to end in life or death, in failure or justice. If Maria can bear to face Fritzsch—and her past—one last time.

Title:The Last Checkmate
ISBN:9780063141933
Format Type:

    The Last Checkmate Reviews

  • Gabriella Saab

    This book holds such a special place in my heart, and diving deep into this time period has impacted me in ways I can't describe. My hope is that this story, though fictional, will encourage you to le...

  • Lura Love

    I wasn't prepared for the crushing blows The Last Checkmate delivered. It was inspiring, heartbreaking, & infuriating, on a high speed rollercoaster. The Last Checkmate is beautifully written, & I'd h...

  • Darla

    True freedom comes from bravery, strength, and goodness. The only one who can take those from you is you. Maria not only learned how to play chess from her Tata, she also learned important lessons abo...

  • Suzzi

    14 years old, sent to Auschwitz. The game of chess and her circle of friends help sustain her life beyond the war....

  • Carla Suto

    THE LAST CHECKMATE by Gabriella Saab is a beautifully-written and heart-wrenching story of a young girl working for the Polish underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Fourteen-year-old Maria F...

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    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 sh...

  • Olesya Salnikova

    THE LAST CHECKMATE is a deeply emotional historical novel about survival, about war and justice, about friendship and love, and, of course, about chess.I loved Queen's Gambit and couldn't wait for thi...

  • Jean

    “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)The Nazis altered these words for their own purposes. Prisoners entering the gates of Europe’s concentration cam...

  • Bonnie DeMoss

    The last checkmate is a heartwrenching novel about a young girl who was sent to Auschwitz along with her entire family. She is a talented chess player, and ends up playing chess for her life with the ...

  • Elizabeth Fay

    This was a fabulous book about a horrible time in history. Well written story about perseverance and the courage and will to live through horrible truly evil circumstances. ...