10-Year-Old Chess Champion is Also a Master of Miracles

Formerly from Nigeria, Tani is an American chess prodigy and author.

May 28, 2021


Chess, New York
10-Year-Old Chess Champion is Also a Master of Miracles | Formerly from Nigeria, Tani is an American chess prodigy and author.

Ten-year-old Tanitoluwa Adewumi is the newest US national chess master. A refugee from Nigeria, he sees life like a game of chess. His is a story of hard work and perseverance, offering precious life wisdom to all.

When Tani and his family had to flee from Boko Haran militants in Nigeria, they found themselves in a homeless Manhattan shelter, according to National Public Radio. Tani went to school where he joined a chess club, practicing every day, often putting in ten to 12 hours of hard work. 

On May 1, 2021, Tani’s dream came true and he became chess master, winning all four of his matches. Tani is the 28th youngest person in the world to become a chess master and he is determined to one day become number one.

In 2019, when Tani’s chess skills started to shine, he won the New York State K-3 scholastic championship, attracting the attention of American journalist Nick Kristof. Kristof wrote about him in The New York Times, which soon led to a GoFundMe page.  

Within two weeks, money had been donated to the family, enabling them to move into an apartment, according to a video from CBS This Morning. They lived rent-free for a full year and were so grateful for this kindness, they decided to pay it forward. The Adewumis then started a foundation to assist other families who are homeless.

Then the pandemic hit, but Tami did not stop improving his game, continuing to practice despite the isolation. He has learned chess with grace, explaining that one must lose in order to learn. “Because when you lose, you have to make a mistake to lose that game. So you learn from that mistake, and so you learn [overall],” he told NPR.

Determined to uplift others, he published a book about his story in 2020. The book is called My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles. This incredible story is sure to inspire and is now being optioned for a movie. As Tami explained on the ABC News video, the title is fitting. “I believe in miracles because what happened to my family is 100 percent a miracle.”

Tani looks forward to being grandmaster one day soon. His determination and hard work are sure to help others overcome obstacles. And if Tani loses a match, he is grateful because he understands that on the chess board and in life, losing is a way of winning.

The Queen’s Gambit Has Inspired New Interest in Chess
5 Two Player Games for the Game-Loving Pair
11-Year-Old Nigerian Boy Leaps to Fame

Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.