Though Malika was only introduced to the game late in life—she’s only been playing since 2010—she quickly developed an aptitude for the game that outpaced all her peers. She says, “I started playing when I was studying in school. My father brought a chessboard home and I started playing with my cousin brother. That’s how I got interested in chess.”

When she began beating her father with ease, he took notice. That’s how her career as a professional chess player began. Malika adds, “My family has been my biggest support, and I can honestly say that without my family, I cannot win in such a way.”

Malika says, “My family has spent a huge amount on my chess game. I’m sorry to say that the government hasn’t given me any help at any stage. I’m really upset with the behavior of the state and central government.

Malika has amassed a list of enviable titles, making her a forcet to be reckoned with on a global scale. She has been the national champion in her category thrice, a silver medalist at the World Championship for the deaf, Asian Champion at the Asian Individual Chess Championship for the deaf, and is the current title holder at the World Individual Open Deaf Chess Championships 2016.

In six years, she has accumulated more titles than veterans a decade older, and she’s confident she’s just starting out!

Despite facing quite a few obstacles, Malika remains confident, poised, and ready to take on the world. As someone who smiles in the face of adversity, and even signs off on emails as ‘Malika Handa (World Champion)’, Malika definitely has a great inspirational future ahead of her!