Man trying to break chess record from folding table in Times Square

On a modest folding table tucked under scaffolding in Times Square, Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya is embarking on a move that will test his stamina.

He’s trying to break the world record for the longest continuous chess marathon. 

"We started yesterday, and it’s been like 26 hours so far," said Omoteyo Jacob, a volunteer on Onakoya’s support team.

The previous record is 56 hours and 9 minutes. But Onakoya told FOX 5 NY he wants to break that and then some: he’s aiming for 60 hours. That means he must continue playing until about 11:30 Friday night. 

"It’s cold outside in New York right now," said onlooker and native Nigerian Mary McAnthony, who’s visiting from Dallas. "So for him to be doing this is amazing. This is a lot of dedication, determination, and hard work."

But he’s not doing this for himself.

Tunde is co-founder of two nonprofits: Chess in Slums Africa and the New York-based The Gift of Chess.

"We have a vision to give the gift of chess to a million children across Africa," Onakoya said. 

"Just setting up a chess center is a very practical way to involve them, and it’s given them a beginning of an education, where they can learn to become thinkers," Onakoya added. "And that is the best way we can empower anyone -- by showing them their own potential."

Susan Namangale, global head of The Gift of Chess, said chess can improve kids' social skills, decision-making and problem solving.

"Chess is an equalizer," she said. "When you play chess, you speak the same language."

Onakoya likes to use the analogy of the journey of a pawn in the game of chess.

"It starts out as the most invaluable piece," he said. "It’s just one part. But then, if it marches all the way to the final round, it becomes a queen."

Viewers can watch the marathon streaming on Twitch, where they can also donate to the cause.