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After surpassing his initial target of 58 hours for his chess marathon, Tunde Onakoya, the Nigerian chess-master raised over one million dollars to support chess education for the underprivileged in Africa, especially in his home country, Nigeria. Through this, Tunde has successfully set a great example in leadership for young people in Nigeria and the world over.

Tunde Onakoya: A glimpse of his life

Tunde Onakoya was born on the 6th of October 1994 in Ikorodu, Lagos where he grew up. The remarkable chess player learnt how to play chess at a barber’s shop in Ikorodu, despite his poor background he was able to bag a diploma in Computer science at Yaba College of Technology. His remarkable excellence began when he became a gold medalist representing his school at the Nigeria Polytechnic Games Award. He has been a representative for many chess events even in his church.

Achievements and remarkable milestones

The establishment of Chess in slums Africa was a significant turning point in his life. Since its inception in September 2018, the foundation has become a driving force supporting young ones across slums in Lagos state, most especially in areas like Ikorodu, Majidun, Makoko and Oshodi. This foundation was able to partner with chess.com in September 2020, this collaboration was to serve as an educational tool for classrooms and chess clubs.

Chess in Slums Africa has so far trained and secured lifelong scholarships for over 200 children.

On April 20th, 2024, Tunde broke the Guinness world record for a chess marathon, by playing for 60 hours surpassing the previous world record of 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 seconds,  set by Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad in 2018.

How Tunde Onakoya built his personal brand and reputation

Tunde story has been a journey of resilience, consistency, and self-determination against all odds. Below are some of the steps that have helped Tunde differentiate his brand;


Tunde chose the route of Philanthropy. He founded The Chess in Slums Africa and has since been using his gift to train children from the slums and expose them to education and opportunities they ordinarily would not have access to.

Global recognition and visibility

His journey to breaking the world record has made him globally visible and recognized by a lot of influential people and organizations. Onakoya is a board member of the New York City-based non-profit The Gift of Chess.

Community Engagement

Through his foundation, Onakoya has been able to build mutuality and trust between himself and the children in slum areas he has also been able to make an impact in many communities.


Tunde has collaborated with authoritative figures like chess.com, footballer Patrice Evra, the Lagos State Government, the Ogun State Government etc.

Onakoya’s Fashion

Tunde Onakoya spots a fìlà on all his outfits. The fìlà is a Yoruba traditional cap often made with asọ-òkè popularly worn in south-west Nigeria. This has become a huge part of his identity, this has helped him stand out and contribute to his brand.

All in all, Tunde has been great at his craft and has also harnessed the power of collaborations, Media Relations and PR tactics to gradually achieve his goals of making the world a better place by raising children from the slums. This has also earned him influence, government recognition, international recognition, increased donations to his initiatives, increased social media following, local and international media coverage and a solid personal brand. Onakoya has set a standard that can be replicated by other young people who are dedicated and have big dreams.

Thank you for reading our weekly blog article on public relations, branding, and leadership. Let us know if this post has been helpful to you in the comment section.

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