Nigerian American Tani Adewumi is only 10 years old, but he has just become a U.S. Chess National Master with a rating of 2223.
His latest triumph was reported by New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof, who two years ago had brought Tani’s incredible talent to the world.
This was when Tani won the New York State chess championship at the age of 8, after playing the game for only a year.
He was then living with his refugee family in a homeless shelter.
Kristof on Facebook gave an update on the chess prodigy:
“Remember Tani Adewumi, the Nigerian refugee boy I wrote about a couple of years ago when he won the NY State chess championship for his age group — while living in a homeless shelter?
“Readers then stepped up and helped the family get housing and helped the parents get jobs.
“Here’s a joyful update: Tani just won another championship, in Fairfield, CT, and is now (as a 10-year-old fifth grader) a Chess National Master with a rating of 2223.
“In “Tightrope,” we wrote that Tani exemplifies the principle that “talent is universal, but opportunity is not.”
“He was able to soar because his homeless shelter was in a school district with a chess program, and the teacher realised that his family didn’t have resources and waived the chess club fees. We need more of that!”
Tani and his family arrived the U.S. in 2017, saying they fled from Boko Haram terrorists.
The family obtained asylum and lived in a homeless shelter in Manhattan. During that time, the boy learned how to play chess at school.
The school chess coach saw the child’s potential and approached his family about joining the chess program.
Fees were waived for Tani to join the club.
The young chess player went on to win several trophies. His story in the The New York Times attracted attention globally.
A GoFundMe page was set up to move the family out of the homeless shelter. Since its launch, the site has raised $250,000.
The family now have a home and have settled in New York City.