A 10-Year-Old Nigerian Refugee Who Was Once Homeless in NYC Becomes National Chess Champion

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Tanitoluwa "Tani" Adewumi told NPR he practices chess "every day" after school for 10 to 11 hours.

A 10-year-old Nigerian refugee who was once homeless in New York City, has become one of the youngest chess players crowned national champion, People reported.

On May 1, Tanitoluwa "Tani" Adewumi became the 28th youngest person in the country to win the title, telling NPR, “I was very happy that I won and that I got the title. I really love that I finally got it."

He told the radio station that he plans on becoming the world’s youngest grand master of the game. Adewumi turns 11 this summer and if he secures the grand master honor in the next two years, he will beat out Russian Sergey Karjakin, who won it when he was 12 years and 7 months old in 2002.

What Adewumi has done in the game of chess has allowed him and his family to move out of a homeless shelter in New York City, according to the New York Times.

In 2019, the Times profiled the young boy after he won the New York state championship for his age group, having only learned the game a year before while living in a homeless shelter. Due to his family’s dire financial situation, they could not afford a chess teacher but Adewumi’s waived all fees.

His father also setup a GoFundMe page to help finance housing and other needs where they raised over $250,000.

The young boy also wrote a book called “My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles.” Paramount Pictures is making the film adaption of the book and Adewumi’s story with Trevor Noah as a producer, according to Deadline.

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