Tunde Onakoya Sets New Chess Record with 60-Hour Game in Times Square

Nigerian chess champion and advocate for children’s education, Tunde Onakoya, has shattered the record for the longest chess marathon by engaging in an astonishing 60-hour nonstop game amid the vibrant atmosphere of New York City’s Times Square.

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While the Guinness World Record organization has yet to officially validate Onakoya’s feat, a process that could take several weeks, many Nigerians already regard the 29-year-old as a national hero.

Onakoya’s objective is to raise $1 million for a charitable cause aimed at supporting education for children across Africa.

Initially aiming for a 58-hour session, Onakoya persisted until reaching the 60-hour milestone in the early hours of Saturday morning, surpassing the previous record of 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 seconds set in 2018 by Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad of Norway.

Onakoya faced off against Shawn Martinez, a chess champion from the US, adhering to the guidelines set by the Guinness World Records, which stipulate that any attempt to break the record must involve two players engaged in continuous play throughout the duration.

Fueled by Nigerian jollof rice, accompanied by Afrobeats music, and bolstered by messages of encouragement from around the world, Onakoya emerged victorious in every match against Martinez. Among the notable figures who came out to show their support in Manhattan were Nigerian Afrobeats sensation Davido and singer Adekunle Gold.

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu joined the chorus of congratulations online, commending Onakoya for “establishing a new world chess record and showcasing Nigeria’s resilience, self-confidence, and innovation on the global stage,” as conveyed in a statement shared by his aide Ajuri Ngelale.

“I celebrate this Nigerian Chess Champion and founder of Chess in Slums Africa for his rare feat, but especially for the reason driving this compelling demonstration of character, which is raising funds for African children to learn and find opportunity through chess,” Tinubu added.

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