Tunde Onakoya Biography (Early Life, Career, Controversy, Net Worth)

Tunde Onakoya, a distinguished Nigerian chess player and coach, proudly boasts the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon chess game.

Beyond his remarkable achievements on the chessboard, Onakoya is also the visionary founder of Chess in Slums Africa, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at transforming the lives of disadvantaged children.

Early Life

Born and raised in the vibrant yet impoverished slums of Ikorodu, Lagos, Tunde Onakoya’s journey to becoming a chess prodigy began amidst humble beginnings.

It was within the confines of a modest barber’s shop that Onakoya first encountered the intricacies of the ancient game.

Despite the challenges of his environment, his innate talent for chess blossomed, becoming a beacon of hope amid adversity.


Onakoya’s pursuit of knowledge faced hurdles as financial constraints loomed large. However, his mother’s unwavering resolve to secure his education saw her take on the role of a cleaner in exchange for his school fees.

This selfless sacrifice propelled Onakoya through the corridors of Yaba College of Technology, where he pursued a diploma in computer science.

Alongside his academic endeavours, he emerged as a formidable force in the world of chess, clinching gold medals and accolades that underscored his multifaceted talents.


Onakoya’s ascent in the chess world was nothing short of meteoric. His strategic brilliance and unwavering dedication saw him rise through the ranks, earning him a place among Nigeria’s top players.

Notable victories in prestigious tournaments such as the National Friends of Chess and the Chevron Chess Open cemented his reputation as a formidable opponent.

Beyond accolades, Onakoya’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of chess enthusiasts led him to establish Chess in Slums Africa, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at empowering marginalized youth through the game of chess.

Personal Life

At the heart of Onakoya’s endeavours lies a profound desire to effect change in disadvantaged communities.

Founded on the principle of leveraging chess as a tool for empowerment, Chess in Slums Africa has become a beacon of hope for countless children across Nigeria.

Through innovative programmes and initiatives, Onakoya and his team have unlocked the potential of hundreds of young minds, instilling in them not only a love for the game, but also essential life skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and literacy.


Onakoya’s impact transcends the boundaries of the chessboard. Through Chess in Slums Africa, he has orchestrated transformative interventions in communities ravaged by poverty and neglect.

The organization’s success stories abound, with tales of triumph and resilience echoing through the streets of Majidun, Makoko, and Oshodi.

Notably, Ferdinand’s triumph in the chess tournament stands as a proof of the organization’s ethos of inclusivity and empowerment, showcasing the transformative power of opportunity.


During the grueling marathon session, Onakoya experienced intense physical distress, including bouts of vomiting and severe stomach pain.

Despite the excruciating discomfort, he adamantly refused to abandon his quest, driven by his profound commitment to the cause he championed.

Gift of Chess, the New York-based nonprofit organization supporting Onakoya’s endeavour, provided poignant insights into the ordeal.

They revealed the harrowing moments when Onakoya, curled over in pain, appeared on the brink of surrender.

Yet, in a poignant display of resilience, he steadfastly persisted, citing his dedication to the dreams of millions of children as his motivating force.

The saga unfolded amidst a backdrop of anticipation and suspense as Onakoya and his United States counterpart, Shawn Martinez, vied to break the Guinness World Record.

The stakes were high, with both players pushing their physical and mental limits in pursuit of victory.

As the hours stretched on, spectators and supporters alike watched with bated breath, marveling at the sheer determination exhibited by Onakoya in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

The controversy surrounding Onakoya’s ordeal sparked widespread attention and admiration, as well as a groundswell of support from the global community.

Messages of encouragement flooded social media channels, with individuals from all walks of life rallying behind Onakoya and his noble cause.

Former vice president of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, and other notable figures lent their voices to the chorus of support, underscoring the significance of Onakoya’s mission to empower children across Africa through education.

In the end, Onakoya’s resilience and fortitude prevailed, as he emerged triumphant, shattering the previous world record and solidifying his status as a true champion of the human spirit.

Social Media Handles

Instagram: @tunde_onakoya

Twitter: @Tunde_OD

Net Worth

Tunde Onakoya’s net worth, estimated to be around $80,000, is a reflection of his diverse array of accomplishments, investments, and contributions to society.

While this figure provides a snapshot of his financial standing, delving deeper unveils the intricate tapestry of his wealth, encompassing both tangible assets and intangible riches.

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