When You Decide to Break a Record: How Chess in Slums Africa is Changing Lives

Tunde Onakoya


Have you ever thought about what it really means to push the limits and break a record? Let’s dive into a story that’s not just about sports or breaking records—it’s about using what you love to make a big impact. And it all revolves around chess, of all things!

Tunde Onakoya, the brain behind a project called Chess in Slums Africa. It’s pretty cool because he’s not just teaching kids how to move pawns and queens around a chessboard. He’s showing them that they can strategize and overcome life’s challenges, just like they strategize in chess to win a game.

Now, Tunde decided to take things up a notch. Picture this: he’s in bustling Times Square, aiming to set a world record for the longest chess marathon. Sounds intense, right? Well, it was not just about playing a long game of chess. It was about showing the kids back home in Nigeria that they can achieve incredible things, no matter where they come from.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Right before his big day, Tunde got really sick. We’re talking sneezing blood, coughing—you name it. Most people would think, “Maybe this isn’t the best time to attempt a world record.” But Tunde remembered his promise to the kids. He taught them to believe in doing the impossible, so he couldn’t back down now.

With a lot of courage and tons of support from people waving Nigerian flags and cheering him on, he played through the pain. And guess what? After 60 grueling hours, he did it. He set a new world record for the longest chess game.

But here’s the kicker: the record wasn’t the only takeaway. It was also about the support from the community, both from those present and those cheering from afar. It showed everyone involved that when we come together, we can make the impossible happen.

So, what can we all take from Tunde’s incredible story? It’s that no dream is too big, and with a bit of passion and a lot of support, anything is possible. Think about that next time you’re facing something that seems insurmountable. Maybe it’s not a chess game, but whatever your challenge is, remember Tunde’s story. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire you to break a record of your own!

Isn’t it amazing how a game like chess can change lives and even break records? What do you think? Could a passion of yours have the power to inspire others too?

Here’s what we can learn from his experience:

Empowerment Through Education: Tunde’s initiative demonstrates that teaching a skill like chess can empower children. It’s not just about the game; it’s about the critical thinking, discipline, and strategic planning skills that come with it. These skills help children face and navigate the challenges in their lives, showing that education can be a gateway to transforming one’s circumstances.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Tunde’s determination to break a world record despite significant obstacles, including serious health issues, exemplifies incredible resilience. His story teaches that perseverance can guide us through difficult times and help us achieve our goals, no matter how unreachable they might seem.

Community Support is Crucial: The support Tunde received, both locally and globally, highlights the importance of community. When people come together to support a cause, they can help make the seemingly impossible, possible. This teaches us the value of unity and collective effort.

Inspiration Leads to Action: Tunde was motivated by his desire to inspire the children back home and prove that great things can come from humble beginnings. His actions show that one person’s achievements can serve as a beacon of hope and motivation for others, encouraging them to pursue their dreams.

Dreams Are Valid: This lesson is central to Tunde’s message to the children he mentors. No matter where you come from, your dreams are valid and achievable. This is a powerful reminder that we should never underestimate our potential to reach great heights and make a significant impact.

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