By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Nov. 4, 2021
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York, United States of America (USA) has honoured Nigerian-born chess champion, Tanitoluwa ‘Tani’ Adewumi, who won chess championship in the U.S. at the age of eight.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tani was honoured at a hybrid Town Hall meeting held at Nigeria House in New York for Nigerian nationals.
Reading his citation, Ms. Joyce Adewumi, Culture Ambassador of the Consulate-General, said Tani was a young boy blessed with extraordinary talents.
She noted that his name, Tanitoluwa, translated as ‘who is as great as the Lord’, spoke for him.
Now 11 years old, Tani was born into the family of Kayode Adewumi (father) and Oluwatoyin Adewumi (mother) and has an elder brother, Adesina Adewumi.
“As a master chess player, he did not play chess in Nigeria. He only picked it up here and in a matter of months, he was winning and winning and winning.
“He lives in New York, United States of America. A year after learning chess game in the U.S., Tani won the 2019 New York State Scholastics Chess Championship at the age of eight while living in a homeless shelter in Manhattan, New York.
“Then, two years after, at age of 10, he rose to the peak of United States Chess Federation (USCF) National level and became a certified National Master and FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs), an international title for outstanding performance.”
Presenting a plaque to Tani, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Uzoma Emenike, paid tribute to the young champion in recognition of his outstanding efforts and achievements in the game of chess and as an exemplary citizen of Nigeria.
“It is one thing to have talents but another thing to not allow a difficult situation to overwhelm you. You did not allow your situation to overwhelm you,” Ambassador Dr. Uzoma Emenike said.
“Your parents did not allow their situation (living in a shelter when they arrived in the United States) to overwhelm them. They encouraged you and you encouraged yourself; you are like David in the Bible who encouraged himself.
“That is why the talent God deposited in you is shining. The future is bright and bright for you. We are all very proud of you.
“As a Nigerian, I am proud of you, I am proud that I am in the United States as your Ambassador.
“I want to say congratulations. You made us proud and I am sure, you will continue to make us proud,’’ the Nigerian envoy said.
Tani’s father, Mr. Kayode Adewumi, thanked the Nigerian Government for recognising his son by giving him an award for excellence.
Adewumi also thanked God for the favour received from the host country, urging Nigerians to believe in God and persevere in their challenges.
“We need to believe that God can do anything as he did it for me and my family,’’ he told NAN.
According to him, Tani is the youngest in the family but is the one God used to lift the family.
“Don’t believe that your situation is the worst because God took us from homeless shelter and raised us up. They’ve been calling us from the nooks and crannies of the world,’’ he said.
Tani, who is in 6th grade, said he felt great and happy for being recognised and honoured by the Nigerian Government.
He advised his fellow preteens to have hope and believe in themselves, advising that they should also look to their goal, be focused and work hard.