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Few Things To Know About Nigeria’s 29-Year-Old Grand Master Chess Player, Tunde Onakoya

Renown for his resilience in the prestigious game of chess, changing the narrative; from slum to stardom, from grass to grace and from nobody to somebody. He was born for this purpose, raised to alter precedence and shine the light coming from the remote area of ikorodu.

Somethings you should know about Tunde;

Tunde Onakoya was born on the 6th of October 1994, he’s a Nigerian world class chess player and coach, who holds the Guinness World Records for the longest marathon chess game, he’s the founder of Chess in Slums Africa.

He has organised a number of interventions for children across slums in Lagos state including Majidun (Ikorodu), Makoko and recently, Oshodi. The children are engaged in a two-week session that seeks to unlock their potential through the game of chess while learning to read, write and acquire basic literacy skills.

Onakoya learned to play chess at a barber’s shop in a slum in Ikorodu, Lagos where he grew up. Being unable to pay for his secondary school, his mother offered to work for a school as a cleaner in exchange for his school fees. He would later be ranked as the number 13 chess player in Nigeria.

Onakoya got a diploma in computer science at Yaba College of Technology where he was a gold medalist representing the school in Nigeria Polytechnic Games and also at the RCCG Chess Championship. He has also won the National Friends of Chess and the Chevron Chess Open.

Onakoya was featured in CNN African Voices.

Onakoya is a board member of the New York City-based non-profit The Gift of Chess.

On 20 April 2024, Onakoya broke the world chess marathon record in New York, United States. He played for over 60 consecutive hours.

In September 2018, Chess in Slums Africa started as a volunteer driven non-profit organization that aims to empower young ones in impoverished communities through chess.

Chess in Slums Africa partnered with in September 2020 as an educational tool for classrooms, chess clubs, and parents.

As of June 2021, Chess in Slums Africa had trained over 200 children and got lifelong scholarships for 20 of them.

In May 2021, Ferdinand, a 10-year-old boy with cerebral palsy won the chess tournament in Makoko. He later met and competed with Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State.

The chess marathon was held in Times Square, New York City, United States. He began with the goal of surpassing the previous world record of 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 seconds, set by Norwegian players Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018. Onakoya’s initial target was to play for 58 hours, but he pushed the boundaries even further, extending the marathon to a full 60 hours.

Onakoya’s endeavour was not solely for the purpose of breaking records; it was a mission with a profound cause. He aimed to raise US$1 million for the education of children in Africa, particularly those without access to quality education. While he was trying to set a new record, he got support from Nigerian community in New York, former vice president of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo, along with Kashim Shettima, including appearances by Afrobeats stars like Davido and Adekunle Gold.

credit: WKP/TX

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