Tanitoluwa Adewumi, an 8-year-old Nigerian whose family reportedly fled Nigeria because of the Boko Haram crisis, is fast becoming a star in the US.
In a piece, Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times’ columnist, dwelt extensively on the exceptional skills that the boy possesses in the game of chess which he started learning over a year ago.
Kristof said Adewumi went undefeated at the state tournament last weekend, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors.
The prodigy, who just won his category at the New York State chess championship, now has seven trophies.
But sadly his family is homeless in Manhattan, New York.
“His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter,” Kristof wrote.
“The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming. He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is. This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship.
The boy and his parents and his older brother arrived in New York City a bit more than a year ago, and a pastor helped steer them to a homeless shelter.
He began attending the local elementary school, P.S. 116, which has a part-time chess teacher who taught his class how to play.
Having enjoyed the game, the boy prodded his mother, Oluwatoyin Adewumi, to ask if he could join the chess club.
The woman reportedly sent an email to the chess club, explaining the boy’s interest in the programme and her inability to pay the fees for the programme because the family was living in a shelter.