More Than $100K Raised on GoFundMe to Buy House for Homeless 8-Year-Old Chess Champ and Family
Nigerian Tanitoluwa Adewumi won a chess tournament for players in his age group earlier this month.
A GoFundMe for the homeless 8-year-old refugee, who rose to prominence by winning a New York state chess competition, has more than doubled its $50,000 goal. The objective is to find the youngster and his family a home.
This past Saturday the New York Times wrote an article that detailed how his family lived in a homeless shelter in Manhattan. Just a day before that Times story went up, the GoFundMe was established by Adewumi’s chess teacher Russ Makofsky, with the aim to acquire $50,000 to “help Tani’s family secure a home where he can continue on his journey.”
At this point the fundraiser has squashed that original goal by bringing in $102,000 from more than 1,700 donors.
Tanitoluwa emigrated to the states from Nigeria with his family in 2017. Shortly after his arrival in New York he joined the chess club at his school. According to his GoFundMe page he’s only been playing the game for a little more than a year.
Adewunmi, whose family is homeless in Manhattan, has seven trophies after winning his category at the New York State chess championship, according to the New York Times.
The prodigy also went undefeated at the state tournament recently, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors.
Adewunmi’s rating is now 1587 and rising fast and he is being compared with the world’s best player, Magnus Carlsen, stands at 2845.
His family reportedly fled the Boko Haram insurgency and sought asylum in 2018. They arrived New York City and have, since, been living in a shelter.
Adewunmi 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.
She 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.
Russell Makofsky, who oversees the P.S. 116 chess programme, reportedly waived the fees, and a year ago the boy took part in his first tournament with the lowest rating of any participant, 105.
Describing his rise, Makofsky said, “One year to get to this level, to climb a mountain and be the best of the best, without family resources, I have never seen it.”
Although his mother cannot play chess, she takes him every Saturday to a three-hour free practice session in Harlem, and she attends his tournaments.
“He is so driven. He does 10 times more chess puzzles than the average kid. He just wants to be better,” his school chess teacher, Shawn Martinez said.
His family has reportedly applied for asylum in the U.S. and will have an immigration hearing in August. Three months prior to that, Tanitoluwa is slated to compete at the National Elementary Championship in Nashville, Tennessee from May 10-12.