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Tunde Onakoya is the latest chess marathon record holder at 29 years of age.

growing up in the slums of Ikorodu (an area in Lagos State, Nigeria) gave him little chances at survival, talk less of prosperity, till he found chess.

Tunde picked up chess on his own as a hobby, only to make history with it a couple of years down the line.

his mom struggled to pay his fees during high school until he got into the College of Technology in Yaba, Lagos, to study computer science.

during his time at the institution, he represented them as a gold medalist at the Nigeria Polytechnic Games

he also represented Yaba tech at the RCCG chess championship (one of the biggest chess competition put together by the redeemed Christian church of God)

he won other chess titles, including the National Friends of Chess and the Chevron Chess Open.

since then, he has gone on to feature on CNN voices and join the New York-based non-profit “The Gift of Chess” as a board member.

Tunde also started a non-profit organization of his own, “chess in slums Africa,” whose sole aim is to support little children in less fortunate and poverty-stricken areas through the tactical game of chess.

he has given opportunities to gifted children from poor backgrounds that they could only dream off, as well as literary skills to the uneducated to help empower them.

however, Tunde made global headlines recently for a more memorable feat

On April 17, 2024, he decided to embark on breaking the record for the longest chess marathon ever.

now crowned as the Nigerian chess master, he kicked off the chess-a-thon at 11:30 EST on Wednesday (the 17th) along with his U.S. counterpart, team member, and fellow National Master, Shawn Martinez.

according to an official release by his foundation “chess in slums”, the record attempt requires a team of two players.

they aimed at breaking the previous world record of 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds, which was set by Norwegian duo Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018.

and they did just that when they surpassed the 57-hour mark at the Grand Times Square in New York.

Tunde and his teammate went on to set the new record for the longest chess marathon holder at 60 hours on Friday, April 19, 2024.

the Nigerian chess master received tons of support online and physically, as has been the custom with the recent Nigerian record-breaking feats.

The Lagos state governor, the Nigerian vice president, and media personalities like Davido, Adekunle Gold, and many more all showed their support either online or physically.

gone are the days when Nigerian’s would look at themselves as underprivileged, second-class citizens.

the recent mind-blowing efforts of Nigerian record holders like Tunde, Pelumi, and Hilda Baci, among others

reminds us of the limitless potential within us.

the real headline of Tunde’s record-breaking story, however, is the cause

his aim was to raise $1 million for less fortunate kids and raise awareness to support chess education for millions of children.

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