The Nigerian refugee became the 28th youngest person in the U.S. to earn the title.
Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi became the 28th youngest person in the country to achieve the title of National Chess Master on May 1.
Per the U.S. Chess Federation, the 10-year-old achieved the highest ranking in chess after he and his family fled Nigeria and moved out of a New York City homeless shelter. During an interview with NPR, Tani said, “I was very happy that I won and that I got the title. I really love that I finally got it.”
Adewumi says he practices chess “every day” after school for 10 or 11 hours. His next goal is to become the world’s youngest grandmaster, and take the title from Sergey Karjakin, who was 13 when he earned the honor.
In 2019 Tani won the New York state chess championship for his age group just a year after he learned how to play chess at school while living in a homeless shelter.
According to USA Today, the young man’s family couldn’t afford to pay his school’s chess program membership, but his chess teacher waived the fees so he could participate.
Additionally, Tani’s father set up a GoFundMe page that raised over $250,000 to enable his family to get housing and other basic necessities.
“Tani’s life was changed in 24 hours. Generous donors and supporters came together outside of GoFundMe and provided us with the housing, legal, and educational resources we needed,” an April 2019 update to the page reads.
And if chess champion wasn’t enough, Adewumi has also written a book titled My Name Is Tani…and I Believe in Miracles, which has been green-lit for a Paramount film adaption, according to Deadline.