A homeless eight-year-old boy wins a chess championship in the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi is also refugee from Nigeria won first place in the said tournament who went undefeated beating children from elite private schools.
“I want to be the youngest grandmaster,” he told the New York Times.
Amazingly, Tani, as he’s known, has only been playing chess for one year and has been living in America for two years since their family fled northern Nigeria in 2017 avoid being killed by Boko Haram terrorists.
He and his family lives in a homeless shelter in New York City a little more than a year and recently his mother passed to become a home health aide while his father Kayode, rents a car so he can drive for Uber and recently became a licensed real estate salesman.
The Adewumi family has requested asylum, but their request is coming along slowly. The have a hearing scheduled for August.
He became enamored with the game after joining the chess club at his school P.S. 116 and since then young Tani had seven chess trophies that sit beside his bed in the shelter.
Shawn Martinez, Tani’s school chess teacher said, “He is so driven, He does 10 times more chess puzzles than the average kid. He just wants to be better.”
Tani’s dedication to chess is superb, while participating in the school chess program, every Saturday he attends a three-hour practice session in Harlem. He also practices every night on his father’s laptop.
Russell Makofsky, head of the school’s chess program at P.S 116 who wave the fees after learning that his family is homeless started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family find a place to live after Tani’s astonishing story went viral.
Remarkably, generous donations poured in receiving much more than the target funds and knowing that there’s more than enough money to get back on their feet, Kayode decided to pay it forward.
He announced on the GoFundMe page that the rest of the money would go to create the Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation “to share the generosity of others to those in need.”
Kayode told The New York Times, “The U.S. is a dream country. Thank God I live in the greatest city in the world, which is New York, New York.”
Now, our young champion has a home, Tani skidded around the empty apartment, laughing excitedly, then leapt onto his dad’s back. “I have a home!” he said in wonderment. “I have a home!”
The homeless boy now has a home, a six-figure bank account, scholarship offers from three elite private schools and an invitation to meet President Bill Clinton.
After raising more than $200,000 to have a place for their family, half-dozen readers offered housing — in a couple of cases, palatial quarters.
Then, Immigration lawyers offered pro bono assistance to the Adewumis, who are in the country legally and seeking asylum.
And it doesn’t stop there, three film companies are vying to make movies about Tani.