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Chess Marathon: Nigerian Player Sets New Record

In a dazzling display of mental prowess, Tunde Onakoya, a Nigerian chess champion, has shattered the record for the longest chess marathon.

The remarkable feat unfolded beneath the bright lights of New York City’s famed Times Square.

Onakoya, determined and focused, engaged in a staggering 58-hour chess marathon without pause. His endurance at the board captivated hundreds of onlookers, particularly members of the city’s vibrant Nigerian community who gathered to offer their support.

The goal behind Onakoya’s marathon was not just personal achievement, but a noble cause. He aspires to raise a staggering $1 million (equivalent to about £805,000) for charity.

This fund will be dedicated to advancing chess education for millions of children, especially those in underserved communities.

Among the throng of supporters was Nigerian Afrobeats sensation, Davido, who lent his encouragement to Onakoya.

The atmosphere was electric, filled with music and the aroma of classic Nigerian dishes, such as the beloved jollof rice, which helped sustain Onakoya’s stamina throughout the marathon.

As Onakoya battled on in New York, his compatriots back in Nigeria cheered him on via Twitch, a popular video streaming platform.

Messages of admiration and support flooded the stream, with viewers hailing Onakoya as an inspiration and a symbol of Nigerian excellence.

In a message of encouragement, Nigeria’s Vice-President Kashim Shettima hailed Onakoya’s endeavour as a proof of the resilience and excellence of Nigerians worldwide.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu echoed this sentiment, declaring his support for Onakoya and emphasizing the power of determination to transcend challenges.

This triumph is not just a personal victory for Onakoya but a testament to the transformative power of chess.

Growing up in the impoverished floating slums of Lagos, Onakoya found solace and salvation in the game of chess.

Now, through his non-profit organization, Chess in Slums Africa, he seeks to empower children from similar backgrounds by introducing them to the game and supporting their education.

Additionally, Onakoya serves as a board member for The Gift of Chess, a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to leveraging chess for positive social change.

Their ambitious goal of distributing one million chess sets to underserved communities by 2030 underscores the profound impact chess can have on individuals and communities alike.

Onakoya’s marathon triumph not only sets a new world record but also symbolizes hope, resilience, and the boundless potential of the human spirit.

Reflecting on his achievement, Onakoya remarked, “Thank you for daring to dream and showing us the levels to which we can all take our brain power to! Well done Tunde! I’m going to pick up my chess board back haha.”

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