Gifted Nigerian 8 year old chess champion Tanitoluwa Adewumi

Gifted 8 year old Nigerian refugee Tanitoluwa Adewumi is a US chess champion. After just one year of learning the game, he won the kindergarten-to-third-grade division at the New York State Championship.

Tanitoluwa said anything is possible, God can do anything for me and my family. I want to be the youngest grandmaster.” His chess teacher at school, Shawn Martinez, described Tani as “self-driven”.

Tani’s family left the northern part of Nigeria, where Boko Haram has devastated lives, and fled to the US, where they are currently seeking asylum. He lives with his father, mother and 15 year old brother, Austin who taught him how to play chess and took him to chess classes a year ago. 

Tani was signed up for a scholarship by Russell Makofsky, who oversees the chess programme. Makofsky told The New York Times, “One year to get to this level, to climb a mountain and be the best of the best, without family resources – I have never seen anything like it.”

Over $190,000 has so far been raised for him in four days after he won New York State’s chess championship. His family has now been offered an apartment which enable them to move from the homeless shelter they’ve lived in for the last two years. 

Tani’s style of play has been described as aggressive. He alarmed coaches watching from the side lines when he sacrificed a bishop for a pawn in the state tournament. When the coaches fed the move into the computer, it confirmed that it was the correct move and would benefit Tani later in the game.

President Clinton invited Tani and his parents to his office Harlem. According to the former president, “Refugees enrich our nation and talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.” This story made me smile. “Tanitoluwa, you exemplify a winning spirit – in chess and in life. And kudos to your hardworking parents. You all should stop by my office in Harlem; I’d love to meet you.”

An exemplary young man with a positive mindset. One definitely to watch. 

Great job Tani and more grease to your gifted elbow??????‍♀️


Author: nmmin

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