The Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund (CCPF) held the 19th Annual Queen City Classic Chess Tournament Feb. 28-29. On the evening before the tournament, the CCPF hosted Sponsors as student players, ranging in kindergarten through 12th grade, for an evening of “chess simul” games. More than 160 players participated. A “simul” refers to a simultaneous exhibition game, in which a single Grand Master or Master chess player simultaneously plays up to 30 boards at once! The evening kicked off with Grand Master Maurice Ashley presenting the Shining Knight Award to 9-year-old Tani Adewumi.

In March 2019, Tani, only 8 years old, won the New York State Scholastic Chess Championship while living in a homeless shelter with his family. His story was widely circulated, following two special features in the New York Times. The articles detailed the incredible story of how the Adewumi family faced hardship with hope when they fled their home country of Nigeria for New York City due to the threat of terrorist group Boko Haram. They moved into a homeless shelter with the help of their church and there Tani and his older brother, Austin, learned to play chess. When Tani and his brother could not afford the chess program dues at their school, their coaches waived the fees.

Incredibly, that same year, Tani became New York state’s chess champion. After Tani won the championship, his chess club coaches set up a GoFundMe page that raised over $200,000. After giving a small portion to their church, and accepting a modest apartment, the Adewumis set up the Tanitoulwa Adewumi Foundation to pay it forward to help other refugees.

Tani and Austin were apart of the record-breaking attendance in this years QCC chess tournament which drew 701 children. Participants included diverse groups of students from Cincinnati’s backyard— such as St. Rita’s School for the Deaf and West Louisville Chess Club— to across the Midwest, including the Detroit City Chess Club.

At the end of tournament day, 232 trophies were awarded, and every player went home with a medal and fun memories of making new friends and learning new chess moves.

“We are thrilled to celebrate coming up on two decades of bringing this unique chess event to Cincinnati,” said Penny Pomerantz, CCPF co-founder, who is already looking forward to next year’s event. “It is incredible to see adults who grew up with this tournament and have them return as volunteers supporting and engaging the next generation of players.”

Beyond the tournament, the Cris Collinsworth ProScan Fund supports and cultivates these skills year-round through their Chess in Schools program, providing chess instruction as part of the curriculum in 43 greater Cincinnati schools. The Chess in Schools program continues to grow as it is proven to encourage all children to develop critical thinking, strategy, self-esteem, and good sportsmanship.

For more information about next year’s QCC or the Chess in Schools Program, call the CCPF at 866.577.7465, email ccpfevents@proscan.com, follow on Facebook or Instagram @cris_collinsworth_proscan_fund or visit www.ccpf.org.