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Nigerian Chess Prodigy Tunde Onakoya Embarks on Historic Bid to Smash Marathon Record

Nigerian Chess Prodigy Tunde Onakoya Embarks on Historic Bid to Smash Marathon RecordNigerian Chess Prodigy Tunde Onakoya Embarks on Historic Bid to Smash Marathon Record

In the dazzling heart of New York’s Times Square, Tunde Onakoya, a revered Nigerian chess master, has embarked on a monumental quest: to shatter the world record for the longest continuous chess play.

His daring endeavor spans an astounding 58 consecutive hours of gameplay, all in a bid to raise an impressive $1 million (£805,000) for charitable causes, primarily aimed at bolstering chess education for millions of children.

The vibrant ambiance of Times Square has drawn hundreds of fervent supporters, among them the renowned Nigerian Afrobeats sensation, Davido. Within this fervent crowd, the Nigerian community in New York stands out, rallying behind their compatriot with spirited enthusiasm. They provide Onakoya with not just moral support but also sustenance, offering him the flavors of home with supplies of classic Nigerian dishes, including the beloved national staple, jollof rice.

Back in Nigeria, an entire nation watches with bated breath as Onakoya’s valiant attempt unfolds, streamed live on Twitch, the popular video-streaming platform.

“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,” proclaimed Nigeria’s Vice-President Kashim Shettima, echoing the sentiments of a nation united in support.

“Lagos is rooting for you,” declared Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, emphasizing the significance of Onakoya’s endeavor as a testament to the potential for greatness inherent in every individual.

As the clock ticks past 03:00 on a Friday in New York (07:00 GMT), Onakoya has already surpassed the 39-hour mark, raising a staggering sum of over $42,000.

With unwavering determination, Onakoya presses forward, his eyes set on the prize. Crossing the halfway point, he acknowledges that the record is within reach, stating optimistically, “It’s looking possible now.”

His scheduled endpoint looms at 20:00 New York time on Friday, poised to eclipse the existing world record, recognized by Guinness World Records. This feat, achieved by Norwegian duo Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018, stands at 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds.

At 29 years old, Onakoya attributes his journey to chess with lifting him from the depths of poverty in Lagos’s infamous floating slums.

Through his NGO, Chess in Slums Africa, he pays forward the transformative power of chess, imparting its lessons to underprivileged children and aiding them in their education.

Onakoya’s commitment to the cause extends beyond borders, as he serves as a board member for The Gift of Chess, a US-based nonprofit dedicated to leveraging chess as a vehicle for positive change. Their ambitious aim: to distribute one million chess sets to underserved communities by 2030.

In Onakoya’s valiant quest, the world witnesses not just a chess marathon but a testament to resilience, compassion, and the unyielding pursuit of excellence.



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