Tani Adewumi has become a source of inspiration for millions of people across the globe, after proving that it is possible to overcome life’s challenges and make it to the top.
At just 11 years of age, the young genius is already a revered national chess champion and aiming to un-sit 12-year-old chess grandmaster, Abhimanyu Mishra for the global crown.
The renowned professional Polish and French chess player, Savielly Tartakower must have been referring to amateurs in his famous quote when he said – “the blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.” But Tani has proven times and again that an amateur can achieve great things if given the right platform to grow.
What makes his achievements even more intriguing is the fact that he achieved his entire feat despite battling the trauma and hardships of being an immigrant for many years.
Black Africans are making a point worldwide that we can excel in anything we decide to do – regardless of whether it is traditional to us. Before now, many believed that chess is a game reserved for only a reserved few on the upper echelon – today, the tables are turning and the wrong stereotypes are being broken.
Interestingly, there are only about 1,700 chess grandmasters in the entire universe, and Master Adewumi, who just only became a national champion in September, is aiming to become one. If this feat is achieved, he will become the youngest ever chess grandmaster in the world – a title many across the world are rooting for him to become.
The only challenge standing between Adewumi and his dreams is tournaments to enable him to adopt the revered title of grandmaster. To achieve this, he would have to earn three grandmaster norms in a chess tournament to become a FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs) rating of 2,500.
Speaking earlier this month to CNN, Adewumi spoke of his style of play, which he said is aggressive and attack-oriented.
“I’m aggressive, I like to attack. It’s just the way I think in general: I want to checkmate my opponent as fast as I can”, he said during the live interview.
In 2017, a young Tani Adewumi and his parents fled northern Nigeria for New York City as a result of the continuous attacks and threats from the extremist group Boko Haram. On arriving in New York, the family was living in a homeless shelter where he was opportune to join a chess club in a public school.
Practicing for about 7 to 10 hours daily even on school days and with the support of his parents, Teni was able to cultivate his skills and slowly gained recognition. He won the New York State Scholastic Primary Championship in 2019 at the age of 8. The victory earned him a feature in the New York Times, which brought the spotlight on him and his struggling family – prompting people across the world to rally support for them.
“One family, they paid for a year’s rent in Manhattan, one family gave us in 2019 a brand-new Honda, and the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri invited the family and the coaches to come and pay a visit,” Adewumi’s father told CNN.
“A lot of people really helped us; a lot of people gave us financial support and money. They donated money for us to get out from the shelter.”
Millions of people across the globe are rooting for Tani Adewumi to win the global crown.