Nigerian Chess Master Sets Record In New York Marathon.

Photo credit: DARE. The Nigerian chess champion Tunde Onakoya has been playing continuously for more than two days in Times Square, New York City.
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Playing under the floodlights of Times Square in New York City, Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya has played chess for 58 consecutive hour–and still going–and has  broken the world record for the longest chess marathon., Reports don’t make it clear whether he has won all his games, but there are no reports of him being checkmated.

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

Tunde Onakoya is a national master of chess in Nigeria and the founder of Chess in slums Africa- A non-profit organization that uses the game of chess as a framework to teach academic skills, critical thinking skills and a lifelong love for learning to children living in impoverished communities as a way to help them reach their true potential.

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

They provided music and energised him with supplies 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 the record on Twitch, a video-streaming service.

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

“Thank you for daring to dream and showing us the levels to which we can all take our brain power to! Well done Tunde! I’m going to pick up my chess board back haha,” one commenter wrote.

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

“Lagos is rooting for you,” Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu told Onakoya, adding that his attempt was “a powerful testament to how greatness can emerge from anywhere”.

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

Onakoya, 29, credits chess with saving him from the overwhelming poverty he faced growing up in Lagos’s infamous floating slums.

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 the US non-profit The Gift of Chess, which works to transform lives through chess and is targeting to distribute one million chess sets to underserved communities by 2030.

Sources: BBC, DARE.

 

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