Nigerian refugee living in homeless shelters becomes chess master at 10

A 10-year-old boy who lived in a homeless shelter in New York has received a remarkable title. The boy has been crowned one of the youngest chess masters. Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi was introduced to the board game in the homeless center. He stayed there after his family had to flee from Nigeria.

In 2019, Tani already received media attention when he was still living in a homeless shelter and winning a chess competition in the US state of New York. Two years later, the boy has a new title: chess master. Thus, the 10-year-old boy is placed 28th in the list of the youngest persons with that title.

Although Tani received the title at the beginning of this month, he has already set his sights on another goal. Thus, the teenager strives to become the youngest Grandmaster. According to the International Chess Federation, Tani has two more years to reach that goal. The current record holder is Sergey Karjakin. He was awarded the title when he was 12 years and 7 months old.

Nigerian refugee living in homeless shelters becomes chess master at 10
Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi

Practice ten hours a day

In 2017, Tani and his family fled Nigeria. Then in Nigeria, there were violent attacks against Christians by the terror organization Boko Haram. They ended up in a homeless center in New York, where Tani gradually learned to play chess.

Over the years, the boy has received a lot of support and help from his environment. Since his family could not afford the chess program at school, his teacher allowed Tani to participate for free. In addition, the family received financial support from benefactors to invest in the boy’s chess career.

Tani says he is “very happy” that his hard work has paid off. For example, the young man would spend an average of ten to eleven hours a day sitting in front of a chessboard to practice.

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