This 8-Year-Old Chess Champion Will Make You Smile

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

For Nick Kristoff’s New York Times opinion column, VII Mentor photographer Christopher Lee photographed Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, who lives with his family in a shelter in New York City. Tani went from chess novice to chess champion in little over a year.

Tani and his family fled Northern Nigeria in 2017 fearing Boko Haram. Since arriving in NYC, Tani began attending PS 116 where he was taught chess by a part-time chess teacher. A year later, he was crowned state champion, beating out peers from wealthy private schools that have coaches and resources that someone like Tani wouldn’t have had access to. “Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.”