After Running Away From Nigeria, 8yrs Old Boy Wins Chess Championship In US (Photos)

March 18, 2019
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This Nigerian boy is doing wonders in the world of chess in America. Tanitoluwa Adewumi, an 8-year-old Nigerian whose family reportedly fled Nigeria because of the Boko Haram crisis, is fast becoming a star in the US.

Here in Nigeria, we fight people not from out tribe, but abroad Nigerians are excelling.
In this piece, Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times’ columnist, dwelt extensively on the exceptional skills that Tanitoluwa possesses in the game of chess which he started learning over a year ago.

Kristof said Adewumi went undefeated at the state tournament last weekend, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors.

The prodigy, who just won his category at the New York State chess championship, now has seven trophies. But sadly his family is homeless in Manhattan, New York.

“His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter,”Kristof wrote.

The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming. He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is. This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship.

The boy, his parents and his older brother arrived in New York City a bit more than a year ago, and a pastor helped steer them to a homeless shelter.

He began attending the local elementary school, P.S. 116, which has a part-time chess teacher who taught his class how to play.

Having enjoyed the game, the boy prodded his mother, Oluwatoyin Adewumi, to ask if he could join the chess club.

The mother reportedly sent an email to the chess club, explaining the boy’s interest in the programme and her inability to pay the fees for the programme because the family was living in a shelter.

The person who oversees the P.S. 116 chess programme waived the fees, and a year ago the boy took part in his first tournament with the lowest rating of any participant, 105.

His rating is now 1587 and rising fast. (By comparison, the world’s best player, Magnus Carlsen, stands at 2845.)

“It’s an inspiring example of how life’s challenges do not define a person,” said Jane Hsu, the principal of P.S. 116, which held a pep rally to celebrate the boy’s victory.

Now the father has two jobs: he rents a car that he uses to drive for Uber, and he has also become a licensed real estate salesman. The boy’s mother has passed a course to become a home health aide.

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