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Tunde Onakoya, Nigerian chess champion, sets 60-hour marathon record

Posted : 22 April 2024

Nigerian chess champion Tunde Onakoya made headlines by breaking the record for the longest chess marathon, playing for 60 hours in Times Square on April 19. While his feat awaits verification by the Guinness Book of World Records, Onakoya's determination to surpass the previous record of 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds set by Norwegians in 2018 garnered attention.

Initially aiming for 58 hours, Onakoya's decision to extend his marathon to 60 hours was fueled by his commitment to raising funds for children's education in Africa. He shared his motivation on Twitter/X, emphasizing the importance of supporting African children's education through chess.

Throughout the marathon, Onakoya faced U.S. chess champion Shawn Martinez, attracting attention from celebrities like Adekunle Gold and Davido, as well as commendation from Nigerian political figures, including President Bola Tinubu. Tinubu praised Onakoya's accomplishment and highlighted the significance of his fundraising efforts for African children's education.



Onakoya's organization, Chess in Slums Africa, aims to empower children in underserved communities through chess, promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The marathon chess session served as a platform to drive donations, raising $22,000 within the first 22 hours.

Despite facing moments of doubt and exhaustion during the marathon, Onakoya was overwhelmed by the support from Nigerians worldwide. Reflecting on the experience, he expressed gratitude for the encouragement and solidarity he received throughout the challenge, describing it as a remarkable and emotional journey.




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