It is a remarkable feat to get on the record books of the Guinness World Records. Some people deliberately go for the records through performing certain activities. Some others do not need to do anything as nature may decide to perform the wonder itself and have their names up in the books. For example, without contributing an inch, nature may bestow height on you, making you the tallest person in the world. 

Interestingly, beyond a framed certificate, there is no pecuniary reward for being a world record holder. But people have different motives for desiring to hold a world record. Some of these motives may be as simple as wanting the record just for the fun of it.

Tunde Onakoya

But one Nigerian man—Tunde Onakoya recently set out on a mission to beat the record for the longest chess marathon (58 hours). Between 17 April 2024 and 20 April 2024, Tunde broke the record as he played chess for 60 hours unbeaten. He achieved this incredible feat at Times Square in New York City. He was surrounded by open air, and cheered by fellow compatriots, friends and other well-wishers including influential personalities. As I watched the Genius play, everything about him speaks of ingenuity. His grit and tenacity was felt all around. Tunde’s greatness was clearly destined.

Tunde is a Chess Champion and founder of Chess in Slums Africa. He loves the game of chess. But he did not go on the record-breaking adventure just for the fun of playing chess or to be crowned the “grandmaster of chess”. Tunde was passionately driven by the desire to preserve the dream and hope of African children who lacked access to education. He hopes to give these children a better life through education by raising funds—a million U.S. Dollars. Above all, Tunde embarked on this mission to further stamp a confirmation seal on his eternal conviction that:

It is possible to do great things from a small place.

From a “small place” in the suburb of Nigeria to the great city of New York, Tunde turned the hand of time at Times Square by setting a new world record in the game of chess. According to Tunde, his attempt at breaking the record for the longest chess marathon was also inspired by one other ambition: 

To show the world that the Nigerian spirit is unwavering and we can do great things from a small place against all odds.

Therefore, Tunde’s mission was truly “knightly” (as described by the U.S. Diplomatic Mission Nigeria). The news of his achievements brings both hope and courage, and surely advances his noble mission for the benefit of African children—children failed by some of their leaders and some of those around them. As we celebrate this great Champion, let us unite in preserving the rights of our children to sound education and work tirelessly to guarantee them a future—a better tomorrow.

Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has advised a number of both established and startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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