Nigerian homeless refugee child wins New York chess championship

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Nigerian homeless refugee child wins New York chess championship

In this grass to grace story, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, who only learned how to play chess last year, has won a state-wide chess tournament in New York.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi’s humble background isn’t holding him back

The eight-year-old has defied the odds stacked up against him. He is a refugee living in a homeless shelter with his mum, dad and older brother. The refugee family fled to the United States for fear of getting attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group responsible for terrorizing North East Nigeria.

Tanitoluwa went on to win the third grade title after defeating children who came with experienced private tutors.

Tani only started playing chess last year

Tani joined the chess club with his classmates at the PS 116 school. Seeing as the young boy couldn’t afford club fees, the staff gave him fee waivers that allowed him to participate.

His teacher, Shawn Martinez, saw Tani’s passion early on. But his quick rise to the top has left everyone pleasantly shocked and surprised. “His drive is amazing,” Martinez says of the young champion. “He wants to be the best.”

Tani’s principal, Jane Hsu, speaking to the New York Times remarks that the young champions’ story shows that a person can rise above even the most crippling challenges.

He has even bigger dreams

Tani is not resting anytime soon. He dreams of becoming the world’s youngest chess grandmaster. With his quick rise to the top, his dreams might very well come true.

He hopes that his family’s status in the US will change soon

“I feel American,” he said.

He hopes that his family’s refugee status in the US will change after their next immigration hearing happening in August.

As the state champion, Tani will compete for the top prize in the country-wide championship in May 2019.

Resource: NY Times

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Written by

Julie Adeboye