Black Excellence: 10-Year-Old Nigerian Refugee Becomes A Chess National Master

10-year-old Nigerian refugee, Tani Adewumi has put Black people on spotlight again with remarkable feat of becoming a chess national master with a rating of 2223 in the United States.

Tani first made headlines when he won the New York State chess championship at the age of 8, after playing the game for only a year, while living with his refugee family in a homeless shelter.

The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who wrote a piece on the youngster two years ago, most recently shared on social media the good news of Tani’s latest victory. 

“Here’s a joyful update: Tani just won another championship, in Fairfield, CT, and is now (as a 10-year-old fifth grader) a Chess National Master with a rating of 2223”, Kristof posted on Facebook.

“In ‘Tightrope’, we wrote that Tani exemplifies the principle that ‘talent is universal, but opportunity is not’.

“He was able to soar because his homeless shelter was in a school district with a chess program, and the teacher realized that his family didn’t have resources and waived the chess club fees. We need more of that!”

Tani Adewuni and his family. Image credit: Supplied

According to The New York Times, Tani and his family fled Nigeria in 2017 to seek refuge in the United States, following the apprehension raised by Boko Haram terrorists. The family obtained asylum and lived in a homeless shelter in Manhattan. It was at this time that Tani learned how to play chess at school.

The school chess coach saw the child’s potential and approached his family about joining the chess program. Fees were waived for Tani to join the club.

The young chess player went on to win several trophies. His story in the The New York Times has attracted the attention of the international community. 

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page was set up to move the family out of the homeless shelter. Since its launch, the site has raised $250,000 ($A320,000). The family now have a home and have settled in New York City.

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