Nineteen-year-old Soumya Ranjan Mishra of Orissa shocked defending champion O T Anilkumar of Kerala to snatch the lead after the eighth round in the 15th CUSAT International Rating Open chess tournament in Kochi on Tuesday.
Playing on the top board, Mishra, a former champion, defeated Anilkumar in 50 moves to emerge the leader with seven points, while on board two, top seed and four-time champion M B Muraleedharan of Kerala beat Nikhilesh Kumar of AP, a former Asian under-14 champion, in 48 moves.
Third seed Ram S Krishnan of Tamil Nadu was forced to a draw by Sukhpal Singh Kalsi of MP and T R Shanmugananthan of Tamil Nadu held Alex Thomas of Kerala for a draw.
On the fifth board, Kerala state champion P Sreekumar lost to M Vinoth Kumar of Tamil Nadu in 38 moves in a queen's gambit declined while second seeded P D S Girinath of AP defeated Pavithran.
Five players -- O T Anilkumar, M B Muraledharan, Vinothkumar, Joy Lazar and U C Mohanan are closely following the leader with 6.5 points each.
Ten players -- Ram S Krishnan, Sukhpal Singh Kalsi, Alex Thomas, T R Shanmugananthan, Sardar Amitpal Singh, K Haridas, U S Satheesan, K Priyadarshan, K X Augstus and Stanley Samson are in the third position with six points each.
Important results (eighth round): Soumya Ranjan Mishra (7) bt O T Anilumar (6.5); Nikhilesh Kumar (5.5) lost to M B Muraleedharan (6.5); Ram S Krishnan (6) drew with Sukhpal Singh Kalsi (6); Alex Thomas (6) drew with T R Shanmugananthan (6); P Sreekumar (5.5) lost to M Vinothkumar (6.5); Konakanchi Ninad (5.5) lost to Joy Lazar (6.5); K R Madhusoodanan (5.5) lost to U C Mohanan (6.5); K V Devadhasan (5) lost to Sardar Amithpal singh (6); K Haridas (6) bt K Prankumar (5); U S Satheesan (6) bt R Muthu Prakash (5); P V Girish (5) lost to K Priyadarshan (6); K X Augustus (6) bt Ganesh Bhat (5); K M Nisam (5.5) drew with Kumar Dip Chakraborthy (5.5); H Azeezuddin (5) lost to Stanley Samson (6); P D S Girinath (5.5) bt K K Pavithran (4.5).