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GWR: Tunde Onakoya raises over $130,000 in chess marathon


Nigerian chess champion and child education advocate, Tunde Onakoya, made history in New York City’s Times Square by raising over $130,000 during his 60-hour chess marathon, a fundraiser for his charity organization, The Gift of Chess.

The marathon, which commenced on April 17, 2024, aimed to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon while raising funds to support education for children across Africa through Chess in Slums Africa, a nonprofit founded by Onakoya.

By the second day of the marathon, Onakoya had already surpassed the $130,000 mark, demonstrating remarkable community support for his cause.

Reflecting on the overwhelming response, Onakoya expressed gratitude, stating, “We had 1,500 unique supports with an average donation of $80 raising over $130,000!! That’s love ❤️”

To incentivize further donations, Onakoya offered special incentives, including signed chess boards for varying donation amounts, with the goal of raising an additional $100,000.

Highlighting the mission of The Gift of Chess and Chess in Slums Africa, Onakoya emphasized their shared vision of distributing 1 million chess sets globally by 2030 to foster critical thinking skills and connect communities.

“We believe that chess is a simple, low/cost, and universally recognized tool that we can use to expand opportunities, create a new generation of critical thinkers, and connect each of us in meaningful ways”, he wrote.

The existing Chess Marathon record was 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 seconds, which was set by Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad of Norway on November 11, 2018.

However, Onakoya persevered and played for an astonishing 60 hours, surpassing the previous record.

The Guinness World Records organization has not yet officially validated Onakoya’s record-breaking attempt, as that can sometimes take weeks, but many Nigerians already consider him a national hero for this achievement.