Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Last Gambit Review Tour

Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance. Vasu Bhatt is fourteen years old when a mysterious old man spots him at a chess tournament and offers to coach him, on two simple but strange conditions: he would not accompany his student to tournaments, and there was to be no digging 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 pay off: Vasu qualifies for the world chess championship. But can he make it all the way without his master by his side?

Inspiring, moving and mercurial, The Last Gambit is a beautiful coming of age tale in a uniquely Indian context.

‘You are a genius, Vasu,’ he said. ‘I’m investing all my time in you because I know some day you’ll surprise everyone, including yourself.’ My chest swelled with pride. ‘And that day is not far,’ he added. I felt as if I had won the world championship. He thinks I’m a genius! I couldn’t contain my smile and adjusted myself in my couch. ‘But,’ he said, gently bringing me down a notch, ‘you are not consistent. You do play some brilliant moves, but they don’t add up.’ As always, he had a nugget of wisdom. ‘Every move, Vasu, every move must put greater pressure on your opponent. To win, you must play good moves and do so consistently.’ ‘The same goes in life too,’ he continued. ‘A consistent and persistent man of average intelligence is more likely to succeed than an erratic and lazy genius. A hundred well played draws, or a hundred lost but well-fought games are better than one victory by fluke. Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance.’

Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance – this got etched in my mind. This was it. The missing link. I had been playing in the hope that success would come, that it would just happen. It dawned on me that success was a sculpture that I had to carve and chisel at patiently. I had to design my success.

My Review:
4.5 stars

Let me start by saying that I greatly enjoyed this novel, which I was not expecting for several reasons. First, I'm not usually a fan of coming of age stories because I feel there is a fine line between a wonderful coming of age story and a dud (where the story can either seem pointless or become too preachy or unrelatable). I was worried this would be the case here, as I saw myself having little in common with the blurb, but I still decided to give this a read, which I am very glad about. I loved the story as the overarching themes present were relatable to my own life, yet were presented in a different, refreshing way that made me think back on my own coming of age experience. 

Second, I will admit, I am a chess novice. I played as a child and still will, but it's not something I actively pursue. Having family members and friends who are very into chess, when the conversation turns to chess, it usually becomes all about chess, quickly leaving a novice behind. I was worried this may become the case here, yet I loved how the game was portrayed in the novel, being detailed and interesting without becoming boring or too complicated. I actually am more interested in chess after reading this novel, which I definitely wasn't expecting. 

Third, I wasn't sure how I would connect to the characters due to my other reservations, yet I loved them. Vasu was a bright young man who I wish was a real person so I could meet him, as I felt like I would get along with him quite well if he were. But the shining element of this novel was his relationship with his mentor. I truly loved to see them interacting as they sold the book for me. 

The only downsides to this novel were that the story dragged a bit at times due to the narrative style, but even that did not hamper my enjoyment of this novel. If you're looking for a moving, thrilling read, I recommend The Last Gambit.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills. He has a bachelor degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and led a profitable software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life. He is the bestselling author of Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir.

His blog is read by millions all over the world.


  1. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt.

  2. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  3. Hi Emily,

    Great Review ! Am so glad you enjoyed the book.

    Thanks for sharing the detailed review.

  4. I am really enjoying following this tour, thank you for all the great blog posts and excerpts!

  5. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  6. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!