Thinley Namgay  

Until late 2021, Ngawang Kheychok, a 14-year-old Class VII student of Changangkha MSS in Thimphu, had limited interest in the game of chess. 

Ngawang Kheychok, from Paro, has been a person with disabilities (PWDs) since an early age.

His journey into the world of chess began when one of his teachers sought volunteers for the school’s chess event. Ngawang Kheychok, along with a few friends volunteered, sparking a newfound interest in the game. 

Despite facing physical challenges, Ngawang has become deeply involved in chess, refining his skills through online platforms. 

Over the past two years, he has participated in the national-level chess competition twice, achieving a remarkable place in the top five. 

Ngawang Kheychok aspires to become a grandmaster in chess, showcasing his determination and passion for the game.

Expressing his commitment, Ngawang highlighted the limited emphasis on sports in schools compared to academics, hindering opportunities for students like him.   

He finds joy and a source of skill development in playing chess, emphasising how sports contribute to both physical and mental well-being. 

Notably, Ngawang Kheychok’s approach to chess is unique, requiring assistance due to his difficulty in moving his hand properly. A dedicated helper assists him by moving the chess pieces on the board based on Ngawang’s instructions.

Beyond his chess pursuits, Ngawang excels in academics. He likes mathematics. Despite health challenges preventing him from attending school last year, he remains resilient, aided by support during exams and in the classroom, where someone writes on his behalf.    

Ngawang Kheychok’s indomitable spirit is evident in his optimism and determination to achieve better results.

Ngawang Kheychok aims to inspire other PWDs, emphasising that opportunities abound for those passionately engaged in their pursuits.  

His mother, Chimi Om, echoes this sentiment, expressing unwavering commitment to fulfilling her son’s aspirations. 

Chimi Om emphasises the need for accessible facilities for PWDs, including in sports, transportation, and education. 

She applauds the Bhutan Chess Federation  for supporting Ngawang Kheychok’s involvement in chess, highlighting the importance of such initiatives for the PWD community in the country.