Chess Prodigy Tunde Onakoya Takes Times Square by Storm in Record-Breaking Charity Marathon

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Nigerian chess prodigy Tunde Onakoya is captivating audiences in New York’s iconic Times Square as he endeavors to shatter the world record for the longest chess marathon.

His ambitious objective is to engage in continuous chess play for an impressive 58 consecutive hours, all while aiming to raise a staggering $1 million (£805,000) for charity, specifically geared towards promoting chess education among children. Supported by a multitude of enthusiasts, including renowned Nigerian Afrobeats sensation Davido, Onakoya draws inspiration from the unwavering backing of his community, both in New York and his native Nigeria.

In Lagos, distinguished figures such as Nigeria’s Vice-President Kashim Shettima and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stand firmly behind Onakoya, celebrating him as an emblem of Nigerian excellence. Meanwhile, on the streaming platform Twitch, audiences from Nigeria and beyond eagerly tune in to witness his quest to surpass the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

As of 03:00 New York time (07:00 GMT) on Friday, Onakoya had already surpassed the remarkable milestone of 39 hours of continuous play, while simultaneously amassing over $42,000 in charitable donations. Buoyed by his progress, he sets his sights on extending his gameplay until at least 20:00 New York time on Friday, ultimately eclipsing the existing record of 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds.

Chess holds profound significance for Onakoya, serving as a beacon of hope that lifted him from the depths of poverty in the slums of Lagos. Through his nonprofit organization, Chess in Slums Africa, and his involvement with The Gift of Chess initiative, he remains steadfastly committed to imparting chess education and opportunities to marginalized communities. His vision encompasses the distribution of one million chess sets by the year 2030, underscoring his dedication to fostering positive change through the game he loves.


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