New York State Primary Chapion on Today Show

Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, an eight-year-old third-grade student at PS 116 in Manhattan, won the 74-player New York State Primary Chess Championship section outright with a 5 1/2-1/2 score in his first appearance in the New York State Scholastics.  Tani won his first five games before drawing in the last round with Jack Faissal to clinch first place.
Tani’s family came to the US from Nigeria in 2017 as Christian refugees seeking asylum to escape the terrorist group Boko Haran in their native country’s civil war. The family has been living in a New York City homeless shelter since their arrival, and Tani began to play chess just over a year ago as part of the PS 116 chess program, where he attends school.  Tani’s meteoric rise in chess has allowed him to raise his rating from 105 to 1589 since March 2018.  Since winning the New York State Primary Championship, his success story has gone viral with worldwide publicity, and his recent appearance on NBC’s Today Show is linked below.  A GoFundMe campaign started by PS 116 chess coach Russell Mafosky has raised almost $200,000 for the family, who is now housed in an apartment.  His asylum hearing is in August, and he plans to play at Nationals in May.


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