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Kayode Adewumi

Kayode Adewumi is the father of Tani, the eight-year-old Nigerian-born boy who recently won the New York State Chess Championship after playing the game for only a year. The Adewumi family’s story begins amidst Boko Haram’s reign of terror in their native country of Nigeria and takes them to a New York City homeless shelter, where they waited to be granted religious asylum. Kayode, who came from a royal Nigerian family, became a dishwasher and Uber driver to support his family. His wife, Oluwaytoyin, whose family owned the largest printing press in Nigeria and had been working at a bank for over a decade, trained to become a home-aid. So, when Tani asked to join the chess program at PS 116, which required a fee, it seemed unlikely. Oluwatoyin wrote to the coach, who offered Tani a scholarship. Miracles led Tani and his family to New York. As Kayode puts it, “There are many times in my life where I thought this must be the miracle, and yet I did not know that the miracle had not yet begun.”