icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
20 Apr, 2024 18:34

Nigerian joins American to break world chess marathon record

Tunde Onakoya shared the victory with US counterpart Shawn Martinez, after the two played nonstop for 60 hours
Nigerian joins American to break world chess marathon record

Tunde Onakoya, a Nigerian chess champion and child education advocate, and his US counterpart Shawn Martinez have set a new world record after playing nonstop for 60 hours.

The match began on Wednesday in New York City’s iconic Times Square and beat the previous chess marathon record of 56 hours, nine minutes, and 37 seconds set by Norwegians Hallvard Haug Flatebo and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018. 

According to Onakoya, he initially planned to play for 58 hours, but in the end the showdown lasted another two hours, finishing at 12:40 am local time on Saturday. For every hour played each of the players got a five-minute break.

Guinness World Records has not yet issued any acknowledgement. However, it typically takes days or even weeks for the organization to confirm a new record. 

According to reports, Onakoya and Martinez played roughly 200 games during the contest, with Onakoya winning most of them. During breaks, the Nigerian also played several bouts of chess with outside challengers, including several reporters, a financial industry worker, and a chess teacher.

The African player, who is also the founder of the Chess in Slums in Africa (CIS) non-profit, said the purpose of the attempt at setting the world record was to raise $1 million for distributing chess sets among children in need and thus “using chess as a simple tool to expand access to education.” 

After the marathon, Onakoya congratulated Martinez on their shared victory, noting that there would have been “no world record” without Martinez’s participation and that the two “showed the world what true collaboration means, trumping competition.”

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu praised his countryman in a post on X (formerly Twitter), thanking him for “sounding the gong of Nigeria’s resilience, self-belief, and ingenuity.”

“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,” he wrote.

As of Saturday, Onakoya’s non-profit had raised roughly $109,000.