Nigerian Breaks Chess Marathon Guinness World Record

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

After playing for 58 consecutive hours he was still at the board.

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

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 distinguishes 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.