Malvern chess champ defies the odds

Dylan Thaver proudly displays some of his accolades.

“A disability should never be a barrier in your life and one should always strive for success no matter what.” These were the powerful words echoed by a reserved 14-year-old Malvern lad, who has broken barriers by proving that being physically challenged does not define a person after he received several accolades in chess, recently.

Dylan Thaver, who was born with spastic cerebral palsy, a condition, which limits his mobility, co-ordination and his speech, has competed against various able-bodied chess players and world champion rated players over the period of two years.

After the youngster’s coach, Erick Takiwira saw the passion and potential among Thaver and his fellow pupils at Open Air School, he began promoting the sport, which the young lad quickly fell in love with.

“I am very thankful for my coach because it is thanks to him that I was able to participate at multiple chess championships.  I also participated in a Learners with Special Needs tournament which was hosted by the school.  I was given the honour of leading our school’s team and eventually won the tournament,” said the passionate player.

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The talented teenager, who describes chess as being his favourite pass time added, “I believe that more people should play chess because it allows you to plan and strategise.  My most memorable accomplishments were achieved through chess.  I was selected as one of the ten pupils from my school to represent KZN at the South African Junior Chess Championships, which took place last year.  The other accomplishment was participating at the eThekwini Chess Association Open Chess Tournament, in which I received an award for being the best LSEN player in the junior category,” said the chess champ.

He also received a special award in honour of his sterling leadership skills after he lead the KZN team in Gauteng among many other top honours. The teenager, who enjoys playing golf and spending time with his friends and family in his spare time, hopes to inspire people from all walks of life to reach for their dreams and to never stop trying.

He also hopes to enter the South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) that will be held in January 2018.  He attributes his success to his proud family.  “My parents, Prema and Vassan Thaver, have played a pivotal role in ensuring that I am always at chess venues timeously. I also wish to thank my grandmothers who played an enormous role in my childhood.  I also thank my coaches and teachers,” he concluded.


Bianca Lalbahadur

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