8-YO Boy Flees Christian Persecution, Becomes Chess Champ
At the tender age of eight, a Nigerian Christian refugee has managed to beat some tough odds to become the New York State chess champion.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, or Tani, only learned to play chess a year ago. Yet somehow he has managed to beat out private school competitors who have been playing the game a lot longer than that.
Tani has managed to beat even tougher odds. His family fled from Northern Nigeria in 2017 to escape terrorist group Boko Haram’s attacks against Christians.
When they came to the U.S., the family was forced to live in a shelter. Today, they are still homeless.
Even though his family didn’t have the money for him to join the chess club at P.S. 116 in Manhattan, Tani’s gift made a way for him.
His teacher decided to make a special exception and waive the fees.
Russell Makofsky leads the chess program at Tani’s school and spoke to USA TODAY about how impressive the kid is.
“It’s unheard of for any kid, let alone one in a homeless shelter,” he said.
Tani’s parents are working hard to provide a better life for him and his siblings. His father rented a car that he uses to drive Uber while his mother is learning English and working to become a home health aide.
Despite all of the obstacles that they have faced, Tani’s family remains grateful for the opportunity to flee harsh persecution for their faith.
“The US is a dream country,” his dad told the New York Times recently. “Thank God I live in the greatest city in the world, which is New York, New York.”
Since that article has been released, donations have been pouring into a GoFund Me page to help Tani and his family.
At press time, his family has received close to $200,000 from supporters.