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.
Tani Adewumi, an 8-year-old homeless refugee from Nigeria, has won the New York State chess championship for his ag… https://t.co/y7lDMhbowL— UberFacts (@UberFacts)1552943821.0
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.
8-year-old Tani Adewumi is a chess champion that’s well on his way to mastering the difficult game. What’s even mor… https://t.co/5yX0HTUHeH— TODAY (@TODAY)1552999769.0
Within three days, the GoFundMe has already raised over $162k.
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.
"It's unheard of for any kid, let alone one in a homeless shelter."
“talent is universal but opportunity is not.” Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a homeless 8-year-old refugee, who won the New Yo… https://t.co/BaJqaW1mTp— camila (@camila)1552955819.0
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.
Today is for Tani! 👑 Congrats young man! We are proud of you 🙌🏾 https://t.co/mtA6nEIAIw— Alia Jones (@Alia Jones)1553006773.0
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."
Wow. A GoFundMe for Tani, the homeless chess champ in my Sunday column, has already raised $102,000 for the family:… https://t.co/tAKy83AXLa— Nicholas Kristof (@Nicholas Kristof)1552939286.0
Twitter was incredibly impressed by Tani's talent and work ethic:
“Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.” T… https://t.co/1NdMMLglxF— Richard Branson (@Richard Branson)1552998609.0
@TODAYshow Such a cool story!!— Deb Siebenga (@Deb Siebenga)1553000639.0
@stevesilberman This is awesome! We need more stories like this.— Marco (@Marco)1552781170.0
@stevesilberman “Tani has an aggressive style of play, and in the state tournament the coaches, watching from the s… https://t.co/l2CS8KVPu5— Andy Thornley (@Andy Thornley)1552853365.0
@stevesilberman “... and it agreed with Tani, recognizing that the gambit would improve his position several moves later.”— Andy Thornley (@Andy Thornley)1552853418.0
Refugees make America better.
@stevesilberman Just look at the names of the people in Tani's life. He and his family are Nigerian then there's Ru… https://t.co/imMG3VnC16— Paul Wu-Tang Clan ⚛︎👨🏻🏫 (@Paul Wu-Tang Clan ⚛︎👨🏻🏫)1552769988.0
@stevesilberman This is awesome !— ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@¯\_(ツ)_/¯)1552848375.0
@CBSNews I am rooting for this kid. I wish Tani all the best.— Margot Pimentel (@Margot Pimentel)1552979006.0
Talent can come from anywhere!
@thehill @SethAbramson After a week that led with a story about people that had all the advantages & money in the w… https://t.co/6fa3KvBYF0— Josie Hogan (@Josie Hogan)1552840857.0
@thehill @SethAbramson This is awesome! Congratulations!— Dado2 (@Dado2)1552840723.0
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."
@thehill He won't be homeless much longer.— THE Bruce Dickinson (@THE Bruce Dickinson)1552833750.0