A New York chess player aimed to raise money for a charity he founded, which ultimately led to him breaking the world record for the longest chess marathon.

In 2018, Tunde Onakoya, a teacher, created the Chess in Slums Africa nonprofit to share his passion for chess with his family’s native land, according to USA Today. The organization’s mission is to teach children across the continent how to play the game, which depends heavily on one’s strategy skills, and aims to raise $1 million for his foundation.

The Brooklyn native shared center stage with Shawn Martinez, an American chess master and fellow Brooklyn resident for the marathon that was hosted in Times Square. The marathon lasted four days beginning on April 16 and ending on April 21. The two were originally going to stop playing the board game at 58 hours but decided to push the bar higher by continuing the game.


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There isn’t an update on when the chess expert will be globally recognized as the new record breaker, but he has already been deemed a winner by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“I congratulate Tunde Onakoya @Tunde_OD on setting a new world chess record and sounding the gong of Nigeria’s resilience, self-belief, and ingenuity at the square of global acclaim,” President Tinubu tweeted. “I celebrate this Nigerian Chess Champion and founder of Chess in Slums Africa for his rare feat, but especially for the reason driving this compelling demonstration of character, which is raising funds for African children to learn and find opportunity through chess.”

“Tunde has shown a streak customary among Nigeria’s youth population, the audacity to make good change happen; to baffle impossibility, and propel innovations and solutions to the nation’s challenges, even from corners of disadvantage,” he continued. “Nigeria’s youths have demonstrated in all fields, including Afrobeats, Nollywood, the pulsating skit-making enterprise, education, science, and technology, that great exploits can truly come from small quarters.”

Following Onakoya’s big victory, he shared his gratitude for the support, promising to put together a “proper” post later.

“Catching up on social media now and I’ve constantly fought back tears. Love you guys very much,” he wrote. “I’ll do a proper post when I find the right words to express all of the emotions I feel right now. Let me delve into this Jollof rice for now. It’s my first meal in almost 4 days. I had some food poisoning during the marathon so I couldn’t eat anything at all. Just water.”

Onakoya views chess as a way to cultivate connections.

“The beauty of chess really is in the way it connects us as a universal language regardless of our background,” he once wrote in a LinkedIn post after winning 10 games in a previous chess competition earlier this year, USA Today reported.