SPOTLIGHT: Meet Tunde Onakoya, Nigerian man who broke GWR for longest chess marathon

 SPOTLIGHT: Meet Tunde Onakoya, Nigerian man who broke GWR for longest chess marathon

In the heart of New York’s Times Square, the air pulsed with the rhythm of Nigerian drums and the aroma of traditional dishes as 29-year-old Tunde Onakoya embarked on a remarkable quest. Surrounded by a crowd buzzing with excitement, he sat down at the chessboard, determined to etch his name into the annals of history.

Hailing from the streets of Lagos ghetto, Onakoya’s journey was one of resilience and ambition. With unwavering determination, he set out to shatter the Guinness World Record (GWR) for the longest continuous chess game, a grueling feat that tested both his mental fortitude and physical endurance.

As the clock ticked away, Onakoya’s strategy unfolded with each move, his focus unyielding despite the relentless passage of time. With each hour that passed, he edged closer to his goal, his passion for the game driving him forward.

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In the early hours of Saturday morning, amidst cheers and applause from onlookers, Onakoya achieved what he had set out to do. With a sense of triumph coursing through his veins, he surpassed the previous record, solidifying his place in history as a true chess champion.

But Onakoya’s ambitions didn’t end there. Fuelled by his belief in the power of resilience and determination, he resolved to push the boundaries even further, extending the duration of his marathon to an impressive 60 hours.

Beyond his personal aspirations, Onakoya’s mission held a deeper purpose. Through his organization, ‘Chess in Slums Africa’, he sought to empower disadvantaged children across the continent by providing them with access to chess education and support for their academic endeavors.

With every move he made on the chessboard, Onakoya symbolized the potential for greatness that resides within every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances. His philosophy, “one can do great things from a small place,” reverberated across social media, inspiring countless others to believe in their own ability to effect change.

As the game progressed, Onakoya’s determination to remain unbeaten by his opponent, Shawn Martinez, a fellow chess master, was matched only by his commitment to raising funds for charity. With each donation that poured in from supporters around the world, Onakoya’s vision of empowering underprivileged children through chess came one step closer to fruition.

In the days leading up to the game, Onakoya had rallied support for his cause, calling on individuals to join him in his quest to make history and make a difference. His impassioned plea resonated with people from all walks of life, uniting them in a shared goal of creating positive change.

As the sun set on Times Square, casting a golden glow over the city streets, Onakoya’s marathon showed no signs of slowing down. With every move he made, he moved one step closer to realizing his dream of breaking records and transforming lives, one game of chess at a time.

About the record attempt:

In Haugesund, Norway, Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad made history on November 11, 2018, when Guinness World Records declared them the holders of the longest chess marathon title. Their grueling battle lasted an impressive 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 seconds, captivating audiences and showcasing their endurance and strategic prowess.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, in Isale Odo, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria, a young Onakoya embarked on his own journey to chess mastery. Born into humble beginnings, Onakoya’s passion for the game blossomed as he navigated the challenges of poverty and limited educational opportunities. Through sheer determination and dedication, he honed his skills, rising through the ranks and winning trophies with his secondary school Chess Club.

For Onakoya, chess wasn’t just a game—it was a lifeline, offering him solace and a sense of purpose amidst adversity. In an interview with Zikoko, he recounted his early struggles, reflecting on the financial hardships his family endured and the sacrifices they made to support his dreams.

Fast forward to the present day, and Onakoya finds himself on the brink of history, poised to challenge Flatebø and Ferkingstad’s record. Unlike the Norwegians, who utilized Twitch for their livestream, Onakoya opted for Tiltify, a platform dedicated to charitable fundraising. With the world watching, he embarks on his marathon match, streamed online for all to witness.

As the hours pass, support for Onakoya pours in from across the globe. In New York City’s bustling Times Square, Nigerian luminaries and celebrities gather to cheer him on, including presidential candidate Omoyele Sowore and music icons Davido and Adekunle Gold. Even Nigerian leaders, such as Vice-President Kashim Shettima and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commend Onakoya’s resilience and determination, recognizing the significance of his extraordinary endeavor.

With each move, Onakoya epitomizes the spirit of perseverance, transcending boundaries and inspiring a nation. His humble beginnings serve as a testament to the power of passion and resilience, proving that greatness knows no limits. And as the world watches in awe, Onakoya’s journey from Isale Odo to international acclaim continues to inspire generations to come.

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