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Nigerian's 60-hour chess marathon breaks record

April 20, 2024

Tunde Onakoya played chess nonstop for 60 hours on New York City's Times Square and is looking to raise money for children in need across Africa.

Nigerian chess champion Tunde Onakoya in action in New York's Times Square
Tunde Onakoya's record attempt is to help raise money for African children in needImage: Yuki Iwamura/AP Photo/picture alliance

Nigerian chess champion Tunde Onakoya appears to have broken the world record for the longest chess marathon, managing to play unbeaten for 60 hours on New York City's Times Square.

Onakoya, who is a child education advocate, bettered the Guinness World Record of over 56 hours in an effort to raise funds for underprivileged children.

'I just couldn't give up on them'

An enthusiastic crowd cheered him on as he achieved the feat Friday night.

"I can't process a lot of the emotions I feel right now. I don't have the right words for them. But I know we did something truly remarkable," he told AFP.

"(At) 3 a.m. last night, that was the moment I was ready to just give it all up," he said. "But Nigerians traveled from all over the world," he added. "And they were with me overnight."

"We were singing together, and they were dancing together, and I couldn't just give up on them," Onakoya said.

Nigerian chess player breaks world record

The 29-year-old chess supremo is hoping to raise $1 million (€937,500) for children's education in Africa.

The record attempt began on Wednesday and continued for 60 hours, through to 12:40 a.m. on Saturday.

Tunde is the founder of Chess in Slums Africa. The organization aims to support the education of at least 1 million children in slums across the continent.

'Gong of Nigeria's resilience' — Nigerian president

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu congratulated Onakoya in a statement for "setting a new world chess record and sounding the gong of Nigeria's resilience, self-belief, and ingenuity."

The Guinness World Record organization — the global authority on record-breaking achievements — has yet to publicly comment on Onakoya's attempt.

The current official record for the longest chess marathon is held by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebo and Sjur Ferkingstad, who claimed the title in November 2018.

Turning Nigeria's slums into a chess classroom

kb/lo (AFP, AP)