Chess Marathon: Nigerian Breaks World Record

Chess Marathon: Nigerian Breaks World Record
Chess Marathon: Nigerian Breaks World Record

Nigerian chess champion and child education advocate Tunde Onakoya has broken the record for the longest chess marathon after playing for an extraordinary 60 hours nonstop under the bright lights of New York City’s Times Square.

The Guinness World Record organization has not yet confirmed Onakoya’s attempt, which can sometimes take weeks, but for many Nigerians, the 29-year-old is already considered something of a national hero.

Onakoya is attempting to raise $1 million for a charity to support education for children across Africa.

He had aimed to play for 58 hours but continued until hitting the 60-hour mark, surpassing the previous record of 56 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds set in 2018 by Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad of Norway.

"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. I mean, in documented human history, no one has ever played chess for this long, you know, 56 hours nonstop. We just broke that record. And I think we can keep going for a few more, maybe minutes or hours. So the next person finds it extremely difficult to break the new record as well," said Tunde Onakoya, chess master.

Chess in Slums Africa, the charity Onakoya founded in 2018, aims to help educate 1 million children in slum communities across the continent.

Fueled by Nigerian jollof rice, Afrobeats music and messages of support from across the globe, Onakoya won every game against Martinez. Among those who came out to cheer him on in Manhattan were Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Davido and singer Adekunle Gold.

The match drew significant attention in Nigeria and was broadcast across multiple locations in Lagos, the country’s largest city, featuring watch parties and digital billboards.