Tunde Onakoya: Nigerian breaks chess marathon record

Tunde Onakoya: Nigerian breaks chess marathon record

Under the lights of New York’s iconic Times Square, Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya has broken the record for the longest chess marathon.

After playing for 58 hours straight he is still in the hall.

Onakoya hopes to raise $1 million (£805,000) for charity to support chess education for millions of children.

Hundreds of supporters from the city’s Nigerian community turned out to cheer on the chess master, including Nigerian Afrobeats star Davido.

They provide music and fuel it with a supply of classic Nigerian dishes, including the beloved national staple, jollof rice.

Back home in Nigeria, people threw their support behind Onakoya as they watched him conquer records on Twitch, the video streaming service.

Supporters left messages on the stream praising Onakoya as an inspiration.

“Thank you for daring to dream and showing us the level to which we can all take our brain power! Well done Tunde! I’ll take my chessboard back haha,” wrote one commenter.

“Mr. Onakoya is a symbol of excellence and resilience that distinguishes Nigerians at home and abroad… Go, make history, and write our names in gold,” Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima posted on X.

“Lagos has your back,” Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu told Onakoya, adding that his attempt was “powerful proof of how greatness can come from anywhere”.

The previous world record, recognized by Guinness World Records, was 56 hours, nine minutes and 37 seconds, set by Norwegian duo Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018.

Onakoya, 29, credits chess with saving him from the abject poverty he faced growing up in the notorious floating slums of Lagos.

His non-profit, Chess in Slums Africa, teaches the game to children from poor communities and helps them with their education.

Onakoya is also a board member of US non-profit The Gift of Chess, which works to change lives through chess and aims to distribute one million chess sets to underserved communities by 2030.

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