10-year-old Nigerian refugee becomes US national chess master


A 10-year-old Nigerian refugee in the United States, Tanitoluwa Adewumi has officially been named a National Chess Master.

This comes two years after he won the New York State chess championship.

Adewumi, whose family fled Nigeria over the Boko Haram crisis got attention in 2019 after winning the chess championship while living in a homeless shelter.

His story had attracted sympathy from people, which led to the creation of a GoFundMe page for him, while a total of $254,448 was raised to help him and his family move into a proper apartment.

It was announced earlier in the year that Adewumi would compete in the Chess Club of Fairfield County (CCFC) that held on May 1, where he bagged the national title even as a 5th grader.

Meanwhile, a columnist with the New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, using his Twitter handle @NickKristof, confirmed the development, saying Adewumi’s story was a reminder that refugees enrich the United States.

Kristof tweeted, “Remember Tani Adewumi, the Nigerian refugee kid I wrote about 2 years ago who won the NY State chess championship while in a homeless shelter? Now well housed (thanks to you readers!), he just won a championship and is officially a National Chess Master as a 10-yr-old 5th grader!

“Tani is a reminder: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not. He was lucky that his homeless shelter was near a school with a chess program. It waived the chess club fees for him. He’s also a reminder that refugees enrich our country (I say that as the son of a refugee).”

Meanwhile, according to the US Chess Federation, the national chess master title is for any player who reaches a “2200 rating”, however, Kristof said Adewumi hit a “2223 rating”.

Also, the US Chess Federation disclosed that less than one per cent of rated players hold the National Chess Master title.

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