Homeless Nigerian refugee, 8, touted as chess prodigy after conquering America
CHESS | An eight-year-old Nigerian refugee has been crowned a chess champion in New York’s state-wide competition.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, who lives in a Manhattan homeless shelter with his family, won the category for his age bracket last weekend with an undefeated performance, according to the New York Times.
Tanitoluwa, who goes by Tani, learned to play chess just over a year ago and now aspires to be “the youngest grandmaster,” he told the newspaper.
Tani, along with his mother, father and older brother, reportedly fled northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing potential attacks by the terror group Boko Haram.
The Adewumi family moved to New York city over a year ago where Tani enrolled in the city’s PS 116 school and learned how to play chess. He is now one of the top players in the country for his age group.
His early display of talent led to him being enrolled in the school’s chess programme, which agreed to waive his fees, and he is now one of the top players in the country for his age group.
The school’s head teacher, Jane Hsu, told the New York Times that Tani’s win was “an inspiring example of how life’s challenges do not define a person,” and paid tribute to his parents’ support, despite being homeless.
The family has applied for asylum and are reportedly set for an immigration hearing in August.
Russell Makofsky, who oversees the school’s chess programme, has now set up a crowdfunding page for the family to secure a home which has received more than $94,000 in donations.
“My hope is that he’ll be in a home tonight,” Makofsky wrote.
Agencies | The Telegraph