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The Internet Steps Up Big Time For A Homeless 8-Year-Old Refugee Chess Champion After His Story Goes Viral

Eight-year-old Tanitoluwa Adewumi made headlines nationwide by winning the New York State Scholastic Championships chess tournament. Many people were inspired by his story—his family fled Nigeria in 2017 fearing violence against Christians and they have been living in a homeless shelter for sometime. But that didn't stop Tani from aspiring to become the youngest chess grandmaster of all time.



After winning his age bracket for New York's state-wide chess tournament, Adewumi's story went viral and people everywhere wanted to help his family.

A GoFundMe appeared online with a goal of $50k to help the Adewumi family find a place to live.


Within three days, the GoFundMe has already raised over $162k.

Just Tani/GoFundMe

In just over a year, Tani learned how to play chess, studied with his school's team, and won the state championship—all while living in a homeless shelter.

Russell Makofsky, who runs the chess club at Manhattan's P.S. 116, commented to USA Today:

"It's unheard of for any kid, let alone one in a homeless shelter."


One of the school's chess coaches, Shawn Martinez, recruited Adewumi to the team after noticing him "excel" in a game only a few weeks after learning the rules.

He approached Tani's parents, who were hesitant to let their son play because they could not pay the costs associated with the club—travel and camp fees can often reach into the thousands.


Makofsky waived Tani's fees to ensure money wouldn't be what held him back from becoming a great player. The eight-year-old began practicing constantly and has quickly established himself as one of the top chess players in his age group nationwide.

Martinez is incredibly proud of Adewumi, believing he could become a master "in the next year or two."

"He works very hard at his game."


Twitter was incredibly impressed by Tani's talent and work ethic:






Refugees make America better.



Talent can come from anywhere!



The best news to come from Tani's accomplishments, however, is how his viral fame is helping his family. On top of the incredibly successful GoFundMe, people hearing about the 8-year-old's extraordinary talent have offered up "offers for a car, legal services, jobs and even housing."

Makofsky wants nothing but the best for the chess prodigy:

"My hope is that he'll be in a home tonight."