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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on June 11th 2019
Tani Adewumi: An 8-year-old chess champion despite living in a homeless shelter

Tanitoluwa Adewumi
Tanitoluwa Adewumi
Photo: nytimes.com

When Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi and his parents and older brother arrived in New York City in 2017, they were legal Nigerian immigrants.

Yet despite the help of a church, and his dad working two jobs, they landed in a homeless shelter.

Then everything changed.

(Story continues from "Read More")

Tani is a student at P.S. 116, where just over a year ago, a part-time chess teacher taught him to play, and he soon became a serious student of the game.

Tani won several tournaments and then the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship in his age bracket, defeating kids from elite private schools, kids with chess tutors.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi
Photo: insider.com

A homeless child winning this highly competitive tournament is so unusual, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Nicholas Kristof told the story in his New York Times column.

The public responded with great generosity, as property owners offered homes, private schools offered Tani scholarships and a GoFundMe account raised $200,000.

Here’s what happened next:

Instead of fancy housing, the family gratefully accepted a modest, two-bedroom apartment close to Tani’s public school. They respectfully declined the private schools.

The Adewumi family: Tani and his brother, Austin, and their parents, Kayode and Oluwatoyin
The Adewumi family: Tani and his brother, Austin, and their parents, Kayode and Oluwatoyin
Photo: nytimes.com

As for the $200,000 GoFundMe money, they donated 10% to the church that helped them.

The rest of the money will be used to help other struggling African immigrants in the U.S. as the Adewumis had been.

When asked by Mr. Kristof why the family would not keep the money instead of using it to help others, Mr. Adewumi replied,

“God has already blessed me. I want to release my blessing to others.”

Editor's Note: To read more about this wonderful story www.nytimes.com. Thank you to www.kindspring.org for informing us of this story.

In the next KazanToday: A hospital nursing director who adopted an unwanted, drug ravaged baby.


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