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GUINNESS WORLD RECORD: Nigerian plans 58-hour chess marathon at Times Square

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD: Nigerian plans 58-hour chess marathon at Times Square

Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya, is aiming at a grueling 58-hour chess session in the bustling heart of Times Square.

He intends to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

Scheduled to begin at 10am on April 17 and conclude at 8pm on April 19, Onakoya’s attempt is not just a test of endurance but a poignant statement on educational access for African children.

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“On the 17th of April 2024, I will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon in the heart of Times Square, New York City, playing for 58 hours without conceding a game,” Onakoya tweeted recently.

“This endeavour is dedicated to the dreams of millions of children across Africa who lack educational opportunities,” he stated.

Tunde Onakoya, GUINNESS WORLD RECORD, 58-hour, Chess marathon, Times Square
Tunde Onakoya

Onakoya, the founder of Chess in Slums Africa, is motivated by a deep-seated empathy borne from his own experiences with poverty and lack of access. Through his organisation, he aims to empower underprivileged children by providing them with chess education and mentorship.

“We knew the pain of hunger. We knew the pain of not having access and that is the real tragedy of poverty. It’s not just not having money, you’re not having access; you’re completely removed from systems—you know, education, the rule of law, everything,” Onakoya expressed.

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He added, “I instilled this empathy for p.eople who have gone through the same things that I did, to just understand their plight through a much different lens. A lot of that is deeply rooted in empathy and compassion, and that is why I think I have the capacity to do what I do and to do it so passionately without giving up even when it becomes hard. I know that I want to be who I needed to be when I was young to someone else.”

The record Onakoya aims to surpass is 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds, set by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad on November 11, 2018.

If successful, his feat will not only establish a new world record but also cast a spotlight on the transformative power of education through chess.

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