8-year-old Nigerian homeless refugee wins chess champion in New York


Eight-year-old Nigerian boy, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, has emerged the winner of the state-wide New York’s chess championship in the third-grade category.

Adewumi, who lives in a Manhattan homeless shelter with his family, won the competition with an undefeated performance, reports The Hill.

Tani started learning chess last year alongside his classmates. He went on to join his school’s chess club. The club’s organizer waived the fees for him because of his family’s financial situation.

Though he started out as the lowest-rated member of the club, he quickly improved and is now bringing his school statewide recognition.

It was reported that the Adewumis comprising of Tanitoluwa, his parents and older brother arrived in New York after fleeing Nigeria in 2017 due to fear of terror attacks from the group Boko Haram.

They have sought asylum and an immigration hearing has been scheduled for August 2019.

Tani and his siblings became enrolled in local elementary schools not long after they arrived and he discovered the chess club.

His mother Oluwatoyin emailed them to say that while they could not afford to pay the fees attached, he was eager to participate.

Tani’s father Kayode drives for Uber and is also a real estate broker. They are pictured with his mother Oluwatoyin and older sibling

The club waived the fees to encourage him.

Not only does Tani play with them, but he also attends a free, three-hour practice session in Harlem every Saturday to master his game. At night, he uses his father’s laptop to practice.

Now, he wants to be the youngest grandmaster ‘ever’, he told The New York Times.

Russ Makofsy, who runs the chess club in which Tani plays, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the boy’s family.

He said it was astonishing how much Tani had improved in just a year.

‘One year to get to this level, to climb a mountain and be the best of the best, without family resources.

‘I’ve never seen it,’ he told The Times.

The GoFundMe page has nearly raised $12,000 of its $25,000 goal.


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