Chess champion plays for marathon 58 hours to break record – and raise cash for child education | World News


A campaigning Nigerian chess champion has played the game non-stop for 58 hours to break the world record.

Tunde Onakoya, 29, hopes to raise $1m (£800,000) for children’s education across Africa through the marathon attempt that began in New York City’s Times Square on Wednesday.

He crossed the 58-hour mark in the early hours of Saturday, beating the current record of 56 hours, nine minutes and 37 seconds, set in 2018 by Norwegian pair Hallvard Haug Flatebo and Sjur Ferkingstad.

Tunde Onakoya, center,  Nigerian chess champion and child education advocate, plays a chess game in Times Square, Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Mr Onakoya played against US chess champion Shawn Martinez. Pic: AP

The Guinness World Record has yet to publicly comment about Mr Onakoya’s bid.

It sometimes takes weeks for the organisation to confirm any new record.

Mr Onakoya played against Shawn Martinez, a US chess champion, in line with guidelines that any record attempt must be made by two players playing continuously for the entire duration.

Support had been growing online and at the scene, where African music kept spectators entertained.

The record attempt is “for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education,” said Mr Onakoya, who founded Chess in Slums Africa in 2018.

The charity aims to support the education of at least one million of the continent’s poorest children.

After hitting the 24-hour mark, Mr Onakoya said: “My energy is at 100% right now because my people are here supporting me with music.”

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Keeping him going was lots of water and the popular West African dish jollof rice.

For every hour of game played, Mr Onakoya and his opponent got only five minutes break.

Sometimes they were grouped together, allowing Mr Onakoya to meet his cheering well-wishers and even join in with their dancing.

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Taiwo Adeyemi, Mr Onakoya’s manager, said: “The support has been overwhelming from Nigerians in the US, global leaders, celebrities and hundreds of passers-by.”

His record attempt was closely followed in Nigeria, where he regularly organises chess competitions for young people living on the streets.

More than 10 million children are not in school in the West African country – one of the world’s highest rates.

Among those to lend their backing was Nigeria’s former vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who in a message to Mr Onakoya on the social media platform X said: “Remember your own powerful words ‘It is possible to do great things from a small place’.”

Read original article here.

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