Homeless 8 Year-Old New York Chess Champ Inspires

“I want to be the youngest grandmaster,” Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a Nigerian refugee who goes by Tani, told The New York Times

USA Today reports:

Tanitoluwa placed first in the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade — a remarkable win for anyone.

“It’s unheard of for any kid, let alone one in a homeless shelter,” Russell Makofsky, who oversees Manhattan’s P.S. 116 chess program, told USA Today.   

Tanitoluwa hasn’t had an easy life. His family left northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing attacks on Christians, The New York Times reports, and moved to New York City over a year ago where the boy learned how to play chess at school. He and his family live in a homeless shelter. 

“What’s even more extraordinary is that Tani, as he is known, learned chess only a bit more than a year ago,” reported the Times. “His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter.”

Tani’s family fled northern Nigeria in 2017, fearing attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on Christians such as themselves. “I don’t want to lose any loved ones,” his father, Kayode Adewumi, said.

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