Tanitoluwa Adewumi has been crowned New York’s primary school chess champion. Adewumi, who attends P.S. 116 in Manhattan, won the primary school championship in the state competition.
He won first place in his category at the New York State Scholastics Chess Championship. He overcame 73 of the most skilled chess players in his age group.
The road to becoming New York’s primary school chess champ began for Adewumi almost a year ago when Russell Makofsky, his coach and overseer of the chess program at P.S. 116, helped him practice the board game for hours after school.
Makofsky said it was only a matter of time before Adewumi shot to the top of the class.
The 8 year old third-grade student came to the United States as a refugee from Nigeria
The family fled northern Nigeria in 2017 to escape attacks on Christians by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram.
Seeking religious asylum, the family settled in New York close to a year ago and are now living at a local shelter.
School chess coach Shawn Martinez reach out to Adewumi about joining the chess club after seeing him excel in the game just weeks after learning it.
The young prodigy who learned to play chess in 2018 said “It’s deep thinking, you have to like understand a lot of stuff”
Although they still don’t have a permanent place to call home, the little boy’s parents said they’re willing to do whatever it takes to support their son.
Since his state championship win, a GoFundMe page launched on Adewumi’s family’s behalf has raised more than $160,000 as of Tuesday.
The online campaign was launched with the goal of helping “Tani’s family secure a home where he can continue on his journey.