What to Know
- Tanitoluwa Adewumi, an 8-year-old Nigerian refugee, won the New York state chess championship for his age group
- He and his family have been living in a shelter for the past two years, so one of his chess coaches launched a GoFundMe page for them
- By Tuesday evening, the page had raised more than $180,000. Tani and his family have since moved out of the shelter and into an apartment
An 8-year-old chess champion whose family has been living at a homeless shelter for the past two years finally has a home of his own.
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, whose family moved to New York City from Nigeria as refugees two years ago, recently won first place for his age group at the New York State chess championship without a single defeat.
After Tani’s win made headlines, chess coach Russell Makofsky, who oversees P.S. 116’s chess program, launched a GoFundMe page to help his family get out of the shelter.
By Tuesday evening, the page had raised more than $180,000. Tani and his family have since been able to move out of the shelter and into a new apartment in Manhattan.
“It’s a wonderful day, because God made it happen,” Tani’s dad Kayode Adewumi told News 4 on Tuesday.
“Thank you to the United States of America for being supportive,” his mom, Oluwatoyin Adewumi added.
The third-grader, who started playing chess a year ago, spent hours practicing on the floor of the shelter. His parents told NBC's "Today" show they feared attacks by the terror group Boko Haram and are seeking religious asylum.
Shawn Martinez, Tani’s coach at P.S. 116, said he “could just tell this game was for him.”
“He smiled every time he did anything on the board or learned something new,” Martinez said.
Tani says he hopes to become the youngest chess grandmaster in the world.
In an interview with News 4, he called the outpouring of support he and his family have received “exciting, amazing and beautiful.”
“Thank you very much,” he said. “You are really supportive.”