Meghana Kunamneni ’25 Places Sixth in North American Chess Championship


Credit: the Kunamneni family

Meghana poses with her 6th place trophy after the competition.

Meghana Kunamneni ’25 won sixth place in the North American Youth Chess Championships within the Under 14 Female section in August. Montrose and I congratulate Meghana on her magnificent achievement! When asked how the tournaments work, Meghana said the tournaments “are usually held at Marriott or Hilton hotels and tend to be three to five days depending on the type of tournament. There are sections based on the USCF, United States Chess Federation, ratings — for example, U1600 U2200 — and you register for your section.” The players are matched using the Swiss System, which ensures that each competitor plays against other opponents with similar running scores only once. 

With context aside, Meghana began to describe her experience in the tournament. As I considered how she must feel throughout this or any other major competition, I was filled with wonder. I questioned her feelings during the contest. Meghana replied, explaining how her feelings during a match “depend on the rating of the player I’m playing (higher or lower) and the stakes of the match. For example, if it’s the last round, and this is the deciding factor if I win the championship or not. I don’t feel a set emotion when I play games. There are a lot of deciding factors, but everyone feels different and has different levels of stress management, so I can’t speak for every player.” Meghana expressed how her stress level per match depends on many factors as mentioned above. 

Meghana received her placement once the competition was completed. She came in sixth place in the tournament. Asked about her feelings regarding her current situation, Meghana replied: “I felt kind of disappointed because I didn’t place first, but I was grateful that I placed at all because there were hundreds of kids that didn’t get anything there.” Considering that kids from all over North America competed in the championship, Meghana’s placement is a huge achievement! The feeling of wanting first place will always be the first thing on a person’s mind. However, looking at the bigger picture makes you realize how much you have achieved compared to what you really think.

Meghana talked to me about what she was thinking as she left the competition: “After every game I usually think about what moves I could’ve played better during the game, who I could have paired with next for the next round, or if I need to work on some mistake I made during the game so I practice before the next round. Thinking about what to do next is always a great big step towards success.” Meghana witnesses, ponders, and then achieves what she aims for — in this case, victory in chess.

At the end of the day, every victor is human, and Meghana wished to address this. She advised: “This doesn’t go for only chess players, but anyone that gets stressed easily like me: I suggest that you remember to take time for yourself. You shouldn’t waste your social life or mental health for something like a tournament, a basketball game, or a history test.”

We’re proud of you, Meghana! We’re sure you’ll continue to do great things. 


Whitney Uche ’25, Staff Writer