A 10-year-old refugee boy who was formerly homeless just won the title of “National Chess Master.”
Chess has grown in popularity lately, probably thanks to The Queen’s Gambit which came out in 2020. In fact, that show has been thought to be the driving force behind record sales of chess sets.
For those of us who already loved and played the game of chess long before the show came out, it’s no surprise that it’s finally becoming more mainstream. It’s a brilliant game that can be enjoyed by all types of people, not just the stereotypical “nerdy” chess club participants.
For one boy named Tanitoluwa Adewumi, Chess is more than a game – it’s something that brings purpose, hope, and new beginnings.
10-year-old Adewumi took up the game of chess just three short years ago after he and his family fled from their home country of Nigeria. Adewumi found himself a homeless refugee in New York City, but throughout all of the challenges that faced him, he stayed positive and productive. It was at a homeless shelter he was living in that he first learned about the game of chess.
He explained on Instagram that his older brother, Austin, taught him how to play. He said, “We created our own board, and he taught me how to play, although by his own rules. I never knew if I won or not when we played, but the most important thing was that he made time for me.”
After just one year of playing, Adewumi made headlines for winning the 2019 New York Chess Championship for his age group. It was clear at that point that he was a true prodigy.
After making headlines, people around the country pitched in to help his family get a house, according to the New York Times.
No longer homeless, Adewumi continued to pursue the game of chess, saying on Instagram, “One blessing, chess, has brought many blessings to my family. I love chess, and it’s taught me a lot about life. It’s taught me patience, hope, and deep thinking.”
Now, this year, Adewumi has done the unthinkable and earned the coveted title of being America’s National Chess Master – at just 10 years old!
The Chess Club of Fairfield County shared about the championship on Facebook, saying, “Adewumi showed off his quickplaying ability, gaining another time advantage while aggressively attacking Levin’s kingside. Levin resigned on move 31. Tanitoluwa Adewumi definitively won the 2021 Club Championship with a perfect score of 4/4 points! This was the USCF tournament to promote Tanituluwa to master at only 10 years old, many congratulations!”
Adewumi has also published a book about his experience with chess and his life as a refugee.Whizzco