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Nigerian refugee, Tanitoluwa Adewumi, Eight, took first place within the New York State Scholastic Championships match.
USA TODAY

An Eight-year-old residing in a homeless shelter has gained the New York State chess championship for his age bracket.

“I wish to be the youngest grandmaster,” Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a Nigerian refugee who goes by Tani, instructed The New York Occasions. 

Tanitoluwa positioned first within the New York State Scholastic Championships match for kindergarten by way of third grade — a exceptional win for anybody.

“It’s exceptional for any child, not to mention one in a homeless shelter,” Russell Makofsky, who oversees Manhattan’s P.S. 116 chess program, instructed USA TODAY.   

Tanitoluwa hasn’t had a simple life. His household left northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing assaults on Christians, The New York Occasions reviews, and moved to New York Metropolis over a 12 months in the past the place the boy realized find out how to play chess at college. He and his household dwell in a homeless shelter. 

Tanitoluwa Adewumi lately earned the title of New York’s chess champion for kindergarten by way of third grade. He is a homeless Nigerian refugee who simply realized the sport a bit over a 12 months in the past. (Picture: Courtesy of Russell Makofsky)

College chess coach Shawn Martinez noticed Tanitoluwa’s potential after observing him excel within the sport a number of weeks after first studying it early final 12 months. 

He reached out to Tanitoluwa’s household about becoming a member of the varsity’s chess program, and realized they have been unable to pay prices related to membership. Makofsky determined to wave Tanitoluwa’s charges, which might simply exceed 1000’s with journey and chess camp admissions.

Extra: No bribes required. New Jersey teen, once homeless, accepted to 17 colleges after hard work

More: Middle school chess coach facing allegations of throwing matches, could get lifetime ban

A student gifted Tanitoluwa a chess clock. Tanitoluwa’s mother took him to free regular three-hour practice sessions in Harlem. His dad lets him use a laptop to play chess online. 

Seven trophies later, the elementary school boy is one of the top players in the country for his age group. 

“He works very hard at his game,” Martinez said, estimating Tanitoluwa could achieve master status “in the next year or two.” The world’s youngest grandmaster qualified at the age of 12.

As Tanitoluwa’s story hits national headlines, more people want to help. 

Makofsky, who set up a GoFundMe for Tanitoluwa, said the family has received offers for a car, legal services, jobs and even housing. 

“My hope is that he’ll be in a home tonight,” Makofsky said. 

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

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