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Onakoya receives hero’s welcome after setting 60-hour Guinness World Record


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Chess-in-Slums founder, Tunde Onakoya, who recently surpassed the world record for the longest-ever chess marathon, clocking an impressive 60 hours, received a heartwarming welcome upon his return to Nigeria on Wednesday.

Onakoya was greeted with a heartwarming reception, complete with singing and dancing at the airport.

In his X post on Wednesday morning, Onakoya stated, “I have struggled to find the right words to capture all of the emotions I’ve felt in the last couple of days—it is indeed one of those weeks when decades happened.

“I had woken up in the middle of the night some two weeks ago, cancelled my flight back home, and decided to pursue this crazy idea of breaking the world record right in the heart of Times Square. It was basically attempting the impossible due to time constraints, but we made it work and got all the necessary permissions, as our will was far greater than any resistance we faced.

“But two days before the record attempt, my health failed me. It was so bad that I had started sneezing blood and coughing violently.

He said, “I was on the verge of calling it off, but I had promised the children back home that I was going to make them proud and come back to them with tales of triumph. After all, I had taught them that it was possible to do great things from a small place against all odds.

“On the day of the attempt, I still wasn’t feeling well, but I dressed up and walked down to Times Square to see that Nigerians had turned up in numbers with flags and flowers in hand to cheer me on. With tears in my eyes, I walked up to the chess board and did it, afraid, unwell, and uncertain, but with a resolute mind.

He added, “After 60 hours of mental torture, we set a new record for the longest chess marathon in the world. We pushed human limitations and gave the world something new to believe in.

Chess-in-Slums founder, Tunde Onakoya

Onakoya disclosed that his greatest joy wasn’t just breaking the record; it was in the little moments we shared with everyone that was present and the wave of support back home in Nigeria. I experienced human love and kindness in their purest form. People travelled from all over the world to come sit with us in the cold as we sparred for several hours.

To everyone who supported our vision, donated to our cause, and stood by us, this record is yours as much as it is mine. Together, we have done something truly extraordinary. Thank you

As I sit here on my flight back home, my heart is full, and I can’t wait to tell the children their dreams are valid as well.

Well done, Tunde. As the one who gave the forgotten little children big caps to wear, now the world will see them through your light.

Onakoya broke the record of Norwegian players Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad, who played for 56 hours and 9 minutes in 2018.

The new record holder said he attempted to raise funds and awareness about providing educational opportunities to underprivileged children across Africa.