Ryan Gelek: The Darjeeling Boy Wonder

Ryan Gelek’s first interaction with chess was at the age of eight in his first school – the Darjeeling Montessori House of Children. His coach, Rupesh Tamang, was the first to notice his interest and passion for the game. Rupesh then further enrolled Ryan into his academy where Ryan started polishing his game. His first major achievement came in 2019, when he won the Second prize at the Orchid Chess Tournament. Furthermore, inspired by his uncle Mr. Dorjee Wangchuk during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ryan also started running at a young age. It was his uncle’s training that helped him complete the 10-km mark at the Darjeeling Hill Marathon, 2020. He was felicitated with the achievement of the youngest fastest runner at the age of nine.

Ryan’s mother, Hishey Chonzom, is his pillar of support. She realizes the potential that Ryan has and does not wish to let any of it go to waste. After the Siliguri Chess win, Ryan’s mother came to the realization that her son was indeed talented, and she made it her life’s mission to help him achieve his maximum potential.

Ryan is a dedicated and sincere kid. Currently, a grade 6 student at St. Joseph’s School, North Point, Darjeeling, Ryan does not get enough time from his homework and academics during school days to pursue his passion, but he spends 5-6 hours during his holidays honing his skills. Ryan has bagged several prizes and awards. These include the First prize at the AIS Inter-school Chess Competition, Kurseong, Darjeeling, and the lifelong titles of Arena Candidate Master and Arena FIDE Master from the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Ryan received the MVLA National Level Pratibha Samman Bal Ratna Award. Furthermore, during the pandemic, he won many online tournaments and participated in many marathons, receiving numerous trophies, cash prizes, and certificates.

Ryan maintains a good balance between his studies and passion, and has participated in two National level and one International level chess competitions. His dream is to represent his hometown and his nation in the field of chess and running. He is also enrolled in other sports activities and is an all-rounder. With so much calibre, he is bound to make his mother, family, school, and his nation proud.