A homeless Christian refugee was recently crowned America’s newest national Chess Master after winning the Fairfield County Chess Club Championship tournament in Norwalk, Connecticut on May 1, 2021. The 10-year-old Tanitoluwa Adewumi was homeless in New York City after he and his family fled the Boko Haram terrorist group’s religious persecution in Nigeria.
Nigeria (after Iran) was listed as the 9th most difficult country to follow Jesus in the world by Open Doors in 2021. The report says, “More Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country. Violent attacks by Boko Haram, Hausa-Fulani Muslim militant herdsmen, ISWAP (an affiliate of the Islamic State group) and other Islamic extremist groups are common in the north and middle belt of the country, and are becoming more common farther south.”
Adewumi Praises God After Winning Several Championships
Adewumi won the New York State K-3 Chess Championship two years ago while he was living in a homeless shelter and made national headlines. He is one of the youngest people to be named a Chess Master; there are only 27 total Chess Masters. Being named a Chess Master is beyond remarkable for someone who has only been playing chess for three years.
After being asked how his new title of Chess Master compares to winning the New York State Championship, Adewumi said, “It’s better, I would say. But I thank God for everything that he’s done for our family.”
Tanitoluwa’s father, Kayode Adewumi, posted on his Facebook page and gave credit to God for his son’s success. The father posted, “Our God has done it again today. Tanitoluwa won chess club of Fairfield Connecticut championship.”
Since the wins, the Adewumi family has been able to move out of the homeless shelter. And since winning the New York State Chess Championship, Tanitoluwa has written a book about his life titled My Name Is Tani . . . and I Believe in Miracles. Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah is considering making a film based on the book.
In Adewumi’s favorite chess match he’s ever played, he lost to Chess Grandmaster Hikaru Makamura. When recalling that match, the young Adewumi gave this sage-like advice: “I say to myself that I never lose, that I only 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]. So losing is the way of winning for yourself.”
The national Chess Master now has his eyes set on becoming the world’s youngest Grandmaster. The current record holder is Sergey Karjakin who won the title at 12 years and 7 months.