Formerly Homeless 10-Year-Old Prodigy Earns The Title Of Chess Master

Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi isn’t your average 10-year-old. He is a chess prodigy.

Back in 2017, Tani’s family left Nigeria after a series of violent attacks were being carried out on Christian families in the country.

The Adewumi family ended up in a shelter in Manhattan in New York, and that is where the young boy first got his introduction to chess.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Tani started going to school after a local pastor helped him to get into elementary school. It was there that his teacher, Russel Makofsky, began to teach his students how to play chess, and Tani was immediately hooked on the game.

Makofsky was the chess club’s host, and when Tani couldn’t afford the fees for admission into the program, the teacher allowed him to join anyways. While Tani is now known as being very proficient in the game, he actually didn’t do so well in his very first chess tournament.


However, one year later, all that had changed and the young child managed to nab himself the state championship trophy. He had competed and won against 73 of New York’s best chess players, all ranging in different ages from K-3.

Photo: GoFundMe

He’s now so good, that he is the 28th youngest person to have earned the title of Chess Master, and his skills as a chess player actually ended up helping his family relocate into permanent housing.

After his story was shared by the New York Times, people came together to create a fundraising campaign and raised more than $250,000 for his family. This allowed them to move to Connecticut where the whole family is doing well.

Tani has gone on to write and publish a book about his experience, and it’s available on Amazon here.

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