Nigerian Chess Champion Shatters Record with 58-Hour Marathon Match in Times Square

Nigerian chess champion Onakoya played against Sean Martinez, the American chess champion, and on that occasion he broke the record for the longest chess marathon after playing the game non-stop for 58 hours

by Sededin Dedovic
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Nigerian Chess Champion Shatters Record with 58-Hour Marathon Match in Times Square
© Voxafrica Panafrican Bilingual / YOutube channel

The Nigerian chess champion broke the record for the longest chess marathon after playing a game non-stop for 58 hours, the Guardian reports. Tunde Onakoya, 29, started a marathon session in New York's Times Square on Wednesday.

By the early hours of this morning, he had spent 58 hours at the chess board, beating the current chess marathon record of 56 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds, set in 2018 by Halvard Haug Flatebo and Sjur Ferkingstad, both from Norway.

Onakoya played against Sean Martinez, the American chess champion, under the Guinness World Record guidelines that require two players to play continuously for the entire time to break the record. "It's hard to describe all the emotions I'm feeling right now.

I have no words for them. But I know that we did something really extraordinary," Onakoja told Agence France-Presse. "Tonight, around three in the morning, the moment came when I was ready to give up. But Nigerians came from different parts of the world.

They were with me all night. Singing and dancing together... because of them, I couldn't just give up." He hopes to raise $1 million for the education of children across Africa through this world record attempt. There is still no official statement from the Guinness Book of Records about Onakoya's success.

Sometimes it takes several weeks for a new record to be officially confirmed. "My energy is at its peak right now because my people are supporting me with music," Onakoja said Thursday night, after the players crossed the 24-hour mark.

During the first 20 hours of the effort, a total of $22,000 was raised, said Tajwo Adejemi, Onako's manager. "The support has been overwhelming, both from Nigerians in the US and from global leaders, celebrities and hundreds of passers-by," Ademi said.

Onakoya's attempt is closely watched in Nigeria, where he regularly organizes chess competitions for youth living on the streets, in an effort to support his cause. More than 10 million children in this West African country do not attend school, which represents one of the highest rates of lack of education in the world.

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