S. Waziri Hassan

The African Gambit

Tunde Onakoya, the African chess giant sets a global record.

Tunde Onakoya, sets a global chess record while playing the game for 60 consecutive hours in Times Square. He defeated a number of skilled players, embroidering his name in the Guinness book of records for the “Longest Chess Marathon”.

Tunde born in Ikorodu (Lagos state) Nigeria, the 29 year old is the founder of Chess in Slums Africa, an organisation assisting the children in the slums through Chess. He has organized quite a number of interventions in slums across Lagos like Makoko, Majidun, Oshodi, Katwe (Uganda), Kibera (Kenya).

Chess in Slums

Slums have a lot in common, in fact they always mirror one another wherever they're established. Be it in South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria even in the western countries. 

The poor infrastructures, limited social services, high crime rates, high fertility rates, drug abuse and many other cases.

In these shanty establishments, in the outskirts of the continent’s oil city, hope has been blossoming. A man called Tunde Onakoya births hope to the less fortunate. Through his program “Chess In Slums Africa”

The Chess in Slums Africa is reimagining education using chess  as a tool and framework to aid cognition and empower the minds of children in impoverished communities. The initiative fosters the intellectual and social development of underprivileged children through chess education.

Chess in Slum Africa is on a mission to teach and unlock the potential in every child by using the game of chess as a framework to promote education and raise champions from slum communities in Africa.

Babatunde ‘Tunde’ Onakoya, believes that a pawn can go on to become a king and he likens these children in slums as pawns who just need the right push by the right people to become kings and queens. 

Together with his team, they have introduced the magic of chess to various children, from being complete beginners to competing globally.

Setting A Global Record

Under the beaming lights of New York’s iconic Times Square, Nigerian chess Master Babatunde Onakoya broke the record for the longest chess marathon.

After playing for 58 consecutive hours, Tunde was still at the board.

Tunde’s motive was to raise $1m for charity to support chess education for millions of children in impoverished communities.

Hundreds of supporters from the city’s Nigerian diaspora community showed up to cheer and motivate the chess genius, including Afrobeat star Davido.

They provided music and energized him with supplies of classic Nigerian delicacies, including the beloved national staple, Jollof Rice.

Back home in Nigeria, people threw their support behind Onakoya as they watched him conquer the record on Twitch.

Supporters left messages on the stream commending Onakoya as an inspiration.

“Thank you for daring to dream and showing us the levels to which we can all take our brain power to! Well done Tunde! I’m going to pick up my chess board back haha,” One commenter wrote.

“Mr. Onakoya is a symbol of excellence and resilience that distinguishes Nigerians both at home and abroad… Go, make history, and inscribe our name in gold,” Nigeria’s Vice-president Kashim Shettima posted on X. 

Subscribe to the weekly newsletter
No spam. Just the latest releases, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.

More stories Read more