Guinness World Record in Chess: Osinbajo commends Tunde Onakoya, says ‘You’ve exemplified one of life’s biggest ironies’

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, sends a congratulatory message to Tunde Onakoya, Nigeria's chess prodigy

By Seyi Gesinde

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has extended his heartfelt congratulations to Tunde Onakoya for his remarkable achievement in breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

Tunde Onakoya engages in a game of chess with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the former’s visit to the State House in Abuja while Prof. Osinbajo served as Nigeria’s Vice President. Photo: File/Statehouse

On Saturday morning, April 20, 2024, Tunde Onakoya completed an indomitable 60-hour chess session, solidifying his place in history.

In a statement, on Saturday, April 20, 2024, Osinbajo reflected on the profound symbolism of chess, quoting Tunde Onakoya’s insight, “For me, the greatest miracle of chess is in the innate ability of a pawn (the least valuable piece) to become a queen (the most powerful piece).”

He emphasised the parallels between this concept and the journey of empowerment and transformation experienced by the marginalised communities Chess in Slums Africa serves.

In his congratulatory message, Osinbajo remarked, “You have consistently exemplified one of life’s biggest ironies: that attaining a life of significance comes from serving the least significant among us.”

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He continued, expressing his admiration for Onakoya’s dedication to Chess in Slums Africa (@chessinslums) and stating, “Congratulations Tunde on this monumental feat, and on the continuing phenomenal achievements of Chess in Slums Africa.”

Prof. Osinbajo’s track record of advocating for initiatives that promote empowerment and inclusivity underscores the significance of Onakoya’s milestone in the chess world and beyond.

As Tunde Onakoya basks in the glory of his record-breaking achievement, his extraordinary commitment to the game of chess serves as an inspiration to aspiring players worldwide.

His perseverance exemplifies the limitless potential within each individual to defy expectations and accomplish the extraordinary.

Tunde Onakoya: Breaking records and empowering communities through chess

In the world of chess, few individuals manage to capture the spotlight with both their exceptional skill on the board and their commitment to social impact.

Tunde Onakoya, a Nigerian chess player, has not only made waves in the chess community but has also dedicated himself to uplifting underprivileged communities through the game he loves.

Rise to prominence

Tunde Onakoya’s journey in the world of chess began like many others – with a passion for the game and a determination to excel.

Growing up in Nigeria, he was drawn to the strategic complexities and intellectual challenges that chess offered. Despite limited resources and opportunities, Onakoya honed his skills through dedication and perseverance, eventually emerging as one of Nigeria’s most promising chess talents.

Guinness World Record breaker

In a remarkable display of endurance and skill, Tunde Onakoya etched his name into the annals of chess history by breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

This extraordinary feat not only showcased his prowess as a player but also highlighted his unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries and surpassing limitations.

The grueling nature of a chess marathon requires not only exceptional mental fortitude but also physical stamina.

For Onakoya, the challenge was not merely about setting a new record but also about inspiring others to pursue their passions relentlessly, regardless of obstacles.

Founder of Chess Slum Africa

Beyond his personal achievements on the chessboard, Tunde Onakoya is driven by a deeper sense of purpose – to use chess as a tool for social change and empowerment.

In pursuit of this vision, he founded Chess Slum Africa, an organisation dedicated to bringing the transformative power of chess to underprivileged communities across the continent.

Chess Slum Africa represents Onakoya’s belief in the inherent potential of every individual, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Through outreach programmes, tournaments, and educational initiatives, the organisation seeks to harness the cognitive benefits of chess while fostering values such as discipline, resilience, and critical thinking among its participants.

Impact and legacy

The impact of Tunde Onakoya’s endeavours extends far beyond the chessboard. By breaking records and founding Chess Slum Africa, he has become a beacon of inspiration for aspiring chess players and social activists alike.

His journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of passion, perseverance, and purpose-driven action.

As he continues to champion the cause of chess and community empowerment, Tunde Onakoya embodies the timeless adage that greatness is not measured solely by one’s accomplishments but by the positive influence one has on the lives of others.

In him, we find a shining example of how a game of strategy can become a catalyst for change and a symbol of hope for a brighter future.

Visionary and tireless advocate 

In the realm of chess, Tunde Onakoya stands as a remarkable figure – a record-breaker, a visionary leader, and a tireless advocate for social justice.

His journey from humble beginnings to global recognition is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and unwavering dedication.

As he continues to inspire and empower others through the game of chess, Onakoya reminds us that true greatness lies not in individual achievement but in the impact we make on the world around us.