First IM norm for Tani Adewumi!

FIDE Master Tani Adewumi is growing up right before our eyes. He recently notched the first of three required “norms” for the title of International Master. It was only three years ago that the story broke of an 8-year-old winning the New York Scholastic State Title. A New York Times story broke about his Nigerian parents leaving the country fearing persecution and settling in a homeless shelter.

The story went viral and after a fundraiser was launched, donations poured in exceeding $200,000 in three days time. In the end, he topped $250,000 on the GoFundMe campaign. This treasure chest provides him with enough resources that would otherwise make travel and training very difficult for a homeless family.

Since the breaking story and public appearance, he has maintained his momentum by participating in several norm tournaments at the Charlotte Chess Center. While he did not earn any norms, he gained valuable experience. He has also been visible on online servers and even faced off against the world’s best in the “Puzzle Rush” championship.

Recently, his father Kayode Adewumi posted news about Tani earning an IM norm in New York City’s Spring GM/IM Invitational. The result was also highlighted on ChessBase. This would be his first IM norm after having earned the FM title at the North American Youth (under-12). On his path to his first norm, he scored an undefeated 7/9 winning his first four.

Earning his first IM norm at age 11 is magnificent for any player, but for a player of African descent, it does show that when resources are available, there is more of an opportunity to succeed. Determination, passion, and discipline are other attributes. It appears that Tani has all of the qualities needed to make progress in his quest to become a Grandmaster.

Below is one of his wins over another immigrant, Cuban-born Thalia Cervantes:


Austin, Kayode and Oluwayoyin with Tani Adewumi last year. Photo by Epoch Times
The Adewumis
Austin, Kayode and Oluwayoyin with Tani last year.
Photo by Epoch Times


  1. I haven’t verified it, but I’m hearing that Tani is stronger by rating than Caruana and Nakamura were at that age.

    1. It’s relative. Players his age were stronger the players of that era. However, growth is not linear. Tani can continue to improve as they did or he can have uneven growth. The foundation is being built as we speak. If he has a good foundation, then he’ll be a GM in 2-3 years.

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