Young Nigerian chess champ, 11, becomes youngest to compete in championship

It was life-changing. No matter what you think about his family’s choice of profession, the fact is that Nwaogwu Adewumi, age 11, has an exceptional talent in chess. By the age of 6, Nwaogwu…

Young Nigerian chess champ, 11, becomes youngest to compete in championship

It was life-changing. No matter what you think about his family’s choice of profession, the fact is that Nwaogwu Adewumi, age 11, has an exceptional talent in chess. By the age of 6, Nwaogwu was playing in competitions worldwide. He got to the final in chess championships in Poland, in October, and set a world record when he defeated a 16-year-old professional player and became the youngest player in that age category to reach the final. The bar has been raised for his classmates, but he and his mother will still have to travel to that same continent to compete.

Adewumi and his mother, Beatrice Adewumi, live in Olusoga, a neighborhood in Nigeria’s oil-rich southeastern state of Rivers State. They say they were motivated to follow this professional path after a chess tournament two years ago left the young man short of cash.

“We are missing a lot of things; food, education and educational goals,” Nwaogwu told The Times. “We are not comfortable, but I must say I want to continue to do the same things with my life. This is what I love to do.”

But Nwaogwu, who has a master’s degree in Physics at primary school, may find it difficult to keep up with his requirements for the next level. Currently he participates in chess competitions in Abuja every month.

Even so, his grandmother, Nwokocha Dike, is happy for him, and wishes for his success. Dike was raised on a farm and says she still hunts, and cultivates vegetables, but chess is her hobby. She said she was a mainstay at Nwaogwu’s chess tournaments, but it was tough to support the family due to Nigeria’s grim economy.

But for his mother, she feels confident that she and her son will make the best of their little opportunity.

“I am not going to let anyone dissuade me. I know that I have to make a choice and we will do it,” she said. “For now, my son is developing and developing and developing. As he develops, his teachers are here, so his development will continue on top of that. That is how it will be.”

Read the full story at The Times.

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