Beyond the Board: Ngawang Kheychok’s Triumph Over Adversity

In the heart of Thimphu, a remarkable tale of triumph and determination is unfolding, personified by Ngawang Kheychok, a 14-year-old Class VII student at Changangkha MSS. Hailing from Paro, Ngawang has transcended physical limitations to emerge as a rising star in the world of chess.

Ngawang’s initial disinterest in chess drastically transformed when he volunteered for his school’s chess event. Little did he know that this decision would kindle a passion that would become the focal point of his life. Overcoming physical challenges, Ngawang delved into the world of chess, honing his skills through online platforms.

In a short span of two years, Ngawang has not only participated but excelled in the national-level chess competition, securing a noteworthy place in the top five. His ambition to become a chess grandmaster stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment and love for the game.

Despite facing physical obstacles, Ngawang has found a unique approach to playing chess. A dedicated assistant aids him in moving the pieces on the board, translating his instructions into strategic moves. This distinctive method has not only showcased Ngawang’s adaptability but also underlined the inclusive nature of the sport.

Ngawang’s journey extends beyond the chessboard; he excels in academics, particularly in mathematics. Even during a year when health challenges prevented him from attending school, his resilience prevailed, supported by assistance during exams and in the classroom.

In a candid revelation, Ngawang expressed his concern about the limited emphasis on sports in schools, hindering opportunities for students like him. He emphasized the holistic benefits of sports, contributing to both physical and mental well-being.

Ngawang’s indomitable spirit is not only an inspiration to his peers but a beacon for persons with disabilities (PWDs) across Bhutan. His aspiration to inspire others like him underscores the latent potential waiting to be unleashed in every individual, irrespective of physical challenges.

Chimi Om, Ngawang’s mother, echoes this sentiment, calling for accessible facilities for PWDs, not only in sports but also in transportation and education. She applauds the Bhutan Chess Federation for fostering an environment conducive to Ngawang’s growth, emphasizing the broader importance of such initiatives for the entire PWD community in the country.

As Ngawang Kheychok continues to make strides on the chessboard, he is not merely playing a game; he is challenging stereotypes, breaking barriers, and inspiring a nation to redefine possibilities for all.

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