Image Source: https://www.news.com.au/
Tani Adewumi is only 10 years old but he has just become a Chess National Master with a rating of 2223.
It is an incredible achievement for anyone at that age, but made even more stunning by the story of the Nigerian refugee and his family.
Tani first made headlines when he won the New York State chess championship at the age of 8, after playing the game for only a year, while living with his refugee family in a homeless shelter.
The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote a piece on the youngster two years ago, shared on social media the triumphant news of Tani’s latest win.
“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”, Kristof posted on Facebook.
“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!”
Social media users commented on the happy update. One person wrote, “Nourishing news for those of us whose ideals have been so battered over the past four years. This IS what I believe America brings to the world – to EVERYONE: opportunity!”
“What a great story! What an amazing young man and proud to hear the community provided needed support and opportunities to his family! Thank you for sharing!,” wrote another.
“One of the saddest thing in developing countries is the talented people without opportunity to develop it. This is a great story,” wrote another.
According to The New York Times, Tani and his family fled Nigeria in 2017, fearing they would become the target of 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 $250,000 ($A320,000). The family now have a home and have settled in New York City.