Nigerian Tunde Onakoya Breaks Record For Longest Chess Marathon


Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya has broken the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon, surpassing the previous world record set by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018 at 56 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds.

Onakoya surpassed this record at the Times Square in New York at 7:39pm EST (12:39am WAT) clocking 56 hours, 10 minutes since the chess marathon began at 11:30am EST (4:30pm WAT) on Wednesday April 17, 2024.

The Nigerian is using the Guinness World Record attempt as an avenue to raise $1 million to support children in underprivileged communities across Africa with access to education.

Image of Nigerian chess player Tunde Onakoya as he attempts to break the record for the longest chess marathon, at the Times Square in New York, USA.

“We’re doing this to raise funds for our project to be able to give millions of children with access to education the opportunity they deserve to learn,” Onakayo said.

“Let us raise the money that is needed so all of this won’t be in vain. We’re doing this to the very end, we started already. The rest is just a matter of tenacity.”

So far, through his non-profit, Chess in Slums Africa and charity organisation The Gift of Chess, Onakoya has been able to raise over $81,000 with generous contributions from individuals and organisations.

Onakoya, who teamed up with US chess master, Shawn Martinez is still going and wants to set a new world record of 58 hours unbeaten, which he says will be extended to 60 hours to accommodate all interruptions.

They have been playing chess non-stop in Times Square in New York City for over 56 hours, much to the attention and support of Nigerians and other New Yorkers. Onakoya is yet to lose after more than 200 games played.

Onakoya’s world record ambition has been widely recognised by supportive individuals and millions of Nigerians worldwide who continue to cheer him on to hit the 58-hour mark.

Notably, Onakoya has been tipped for success by some of Nigeria’s elites including Yemi Osinbajo and Atiku Abubakar, former vice presidents of Nigeria, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos state, Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State, Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, popular Nigerian artist Davido and a host of others.

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