It's not often that you come across a book that makes you sit up and take notice. This is one of those rare books. The Last Gambit is truly a masterpiece.
On the face of it, it's a very simple story. But it also teaches so many valuable aspects of life. I've read this book in a single day and it left me speechless. It has rekindled strange positive emotions inside me in a mysterious way.
For the last few years, I've held a belief that if one is disciplined enough, one can succeed in any area of his interest. This book has challenged that belief.
Having a true Master by your side is priceless. Whatever field you are in, if you have a selfless Master by your side, the whole world will bow to you. With Master by your side, everything about your success will be wonderful. This is an awe-inspiring book
For those who are low on motivation, this book will provide an intravenous dose of inspiration and enthusiasm. For those who had left a pursuit of their choice midway in life for whatever reason, it will instill a sense of passion in them. This book will fill you up with good emotions - there will be times when adrenaline will be rushing inside you and yet there will be times when you will be laughing like a 5-year-old kid.
And then there are nuggets of wisdom beautifully sprinkled throughout the book. The book shows the value of dedication and determination which is required to achieve anything worthwhile in life. There are no shortcuts to success. In fact, this book can act a checklist on how to become a World Champion in the truest sense. It gives you an idea of what it takes to become world champion in any field of your passion.
It's a beautiful collection of emotions that pretty much everyone goes through while they were in their teenage years. Lessons of life shared wonderfully in the form of a story. It beautifully captures all the colors of a teenager's life and the challenges they face.
Like a sculptor chiseling away one blow at a time, Master's pearl of insight always gave me something more to reflect on and admire. This book will get you hooked from the very first page as it offers insights about the life using chess as a metaphor. Richly woven with love, sacrifice, lofty ambitions, it will remind us why selfless service is the hallmark of true greatness.
The narration style is amazing. You will be amazed at how easily you can slip into Vasu's shoes and experience his emotions viscerally. The story has the strength to change one's perspective towards life. Much can be learned about having dreams, chasing them and accomplishing them, with a dash of humor throughout the book.
The chess lovers are definitely going to love this book. And even if you are not an ardent chess player, you would still enjoy it as if you are playing it.
The flow of the story is what distinguishes it in the world of books. You cannot put the book down once you have read a couple of pages. But there is also a paradox. This book is not a one time read. It is like an onion which has to be peeled multiple times, layer by layer.
Master gives coaching instructions to the young boy, Vasu, as he starts his journey from an amateur chess player to go on to become a World Champion. The key coaching messages, Vasu's journey and the tutelage provided by the Master indirectly illuminates the patch and choice one should make during our lives.
The story is mostly around two main characters - the young boy, Vasu and his Master, Anand Sharma. Both the characters are well etched and you will get a peek into the characters and their temperaments. The Master is the most developed character in the story. His character is the life and soul of the book. Through the Master, we are imbibed with key messages on how to pursue our passions and have a strong character. The other characters of father, mother, brother, sister have been leveraged to highlight the importance of strong family bonds and societal issues.
It is not easy to weave the emotions of a sports story in a book. And it is definitely not easy if that sport happens to be Chess. But the story telling is supreme. The ability to weave a nail biting thriller out of a geeky sport like chess tells you a lot about the author's immense story telling skills. Each scene is vividly captured, which will help you to visualize the environment. Chances are you will definitely shed a few tears while reading it.
The magnificence of this book is beyond words. This book is fiction, but through Vasu's life, you can inspect your own as an individual. In this book, the author has revealed how you can craft yourself to become a World Champion. What it takes to become a World Champion, the struggles, the challenges, the sacrifices of near and dear ones and above all the internal transformation one has to go through.
Subtle yet profound messages have been woven throughout the book. Swamiji has covered everything here - morals, pursuit of passion, life, relationships, motivation and much more.
Tears and smiles would come naturally while you go through the pages in no time. It offers insights on dedication, responsibilities, respect, care, appreciation, intimidation, expression, forgiveness, acceptance, mistakes, thoughts and conduct, nature’s law, and above all love and self-sacrifice.
Even after finishing it, I feel like the incidents were still flashing in my mind and I am still reading.
Vasu Bhatt is 14 years old when an old man spots him at a local chess tournament and offers to coach him on two simple but strange conditions:
1. He would not accompany his student to tournaments
2. He would not dig into his past.
Initially resentful, Vasu begins to gradually understand his Master's mettle.
Over eight years, Master and student come to love and respect each other but the two conditions remain unbroken - until Vasu confronts and provokes the old man. Meanwhile, their hard work and strategy pays off: Vasu qualifies for the World Chess Championship.
The Master's character is the soul of this book. Below are some of the excerpts from the book when Master was guiding his student:
Chapter 1: The magic pill
'Tame your impatience if you are serious about winning.'
'You think I can be a champion?'
'Do you think you can be one?'
'If I have you, then yes.'
'My heart says so.'
It was time for another round but I didn't turn away. Standing in his presence was melting something in me. As if, already, he was silently teaching me, transforming me.
'Will you coach me please?'
'On two conditions', he said.
'Yes. First, you will never dig into my past. Second, I'll never accompany you to any tournaments.'
'Whatever you say.'
'Listen son, there is no magic pill. Whatever you want in life, you have to earn it. And remember, chess is not a game, it's a way of life.'
'I'll do anything to learn from you.'
'If chess is the only thing you want in life and if you promise to not leave it in between, I'll make you a grandmaster.'
Chapter 8: My Mojo
"Imitation is good but originality is better," he said. "Your mojo is in your own style."
Chapter 9: My Best Move
'Play like you have nothing to lose, Vasu,' Master said.
'Besides, it's true as well,' he laughed, 'you've got nothing to lose.'
Sometimes, the best way is to enjoy the journey with your co-traveller rather than rushing to the destination.