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From Homeless Shelter to National Chess Master: Meet 10-year-old Tanitoluwa Adewumi



Photo: Honoree Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi attending the 10th annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards at the Stella Artois Theater in New York.

After escaping horrific attacks from Islamic Nigerian militias, Tanitowala ’Tani’ Adewumi, along with his family, successfully gained asylum in the USA. During the first few months of settling in a New York shelter, Tani was introduced to chess through a local pastor supporting his family. Eventually, he managed to get into elementary school whereby his teacher, Russell Makofsy, the leader of the school’s chess club, held numerous classes further fueling and captivating Tani's interest.

As Tani’s family were going through financial difficulties, Makofsy allowed Tani to join the chest club for free. With him finishing in last place, Tani's initial chess competition did not go so well. However, a year later, Tani dominated the board game competing against 73 chess players. Winning State championship, Tani became the 28th youngest person to achieve the title of national chess master.



From Adversity to Achievements


Following Tani's amazing achievement, a fundraiser was created to help place him and his family in permanent housing. Tani now lives in Connecticut with his family and not only continues to excel in chess but his academic achievements along with his siblings too.


A huge congratulations to Tani and his amazing achievements!

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