Jeffery Xiong could not have hoped for a better day. First, the sole overnight leader Karthikeyan Murali gifted him an easy victory. Then, his strongest rival and top seed Vladislav Artemeiv of Russia was shocked by China’s Xu Yinglun.

With 5.5 points, Xiong moved into the lead at the end of the seventh round of the World Junior Chess Championships at the KIIT University campus here on Sunday. Giving the second-seeded American company are Xu and Poland's Grzegorz Nasuta, who humbled third seed Kirill Alekseenko of Russia. It wasn’t a good day for the Russian boys.

The Russian girls did a lot better. Eighth seed Dinara Dordzhieva defeated Colombia’s Paula Rodriguez Rueda on the top board while second seed Alina Bovil took half-a-point off top seed Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan. Dordzhieva, with six points, has retained her lead position. She is joined at the top by Philippine’s Janelle Mae Frayna, who ended the fine run of K. Priyanka of the host.

But there seems to be no stopping another Tamil Nadu player, P.V. Nandhidhaa, who is trailing the leaders by just half-a-point. Her latest victim was fourth seed Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, whom she beat in 60 moves from the white side of a French Defence, with a rook sacrifice — albeit a temporary one — to boot.

Xiong didn’t need to do anything of the sort on the boys' top board, with Murali blundering a pawn early on. “It was a lucky win,” admitted Xiong.

Murali, however, remains in the second position with five points, along with six others.

Important results (seventh round; Indians unless specified): Karthikeyan Murali 5 lost to Jeffery Xiong (USA) 5.5; Xu Yinglun (Chn) 5.5 bt Vladislav Artemiev (Rus) 4.5; Kirill Alekseenko (Rus) 4.5 lost to Grzegorz Nasuta (Pol) 5.5; S.L. Narayanan 5 drew with Rasmus Svane (Ger) 5; Aravindh Chithambaram 5 drew with Masoud Mosadeghpour (Ira) 5; G. Akash 4 lost to Parham Maghsoodloo (Ira) 5; Shardul Gagare 4.5 drew with Stefan Beukema (Bel) 4.5; R. Pragnananda 4.5 drew with Xu Yi (Chn) 4.5; Bozidar Ivekovic (Cro) 4.5 drew with Syed Khalil Mousavi (Ira) 4.5; Christoph Menezes (Aut) 5 bt Yuang Qingyu (Chn) 4; Dennis Wagner (Ger) 4 drew with N.R. Visakh 4; Paulo Bersamina (Phi) 3.5 Cristobal Villagra Henriquez (Chi) 3.5; Erigaisi Arjun 4 drew with Shahin Lorparizangeneh (Ira) 4; Harsha Bharatakodi 4 drew with Tran Tuan Minh (Vie) 4; Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad 4 drew with Aryan Gholami (Ira) 4.

Girls: K. Priyanka 5 lost to Janelle Mae Frayna (Phi) 6; Dinara Dordzhieva (Rus) 6 bt Paula Rodriguez Rueda (Col) 4.5; Alina Bivol (Rus) 5 drew with Dinara Saduakassova (Kaz) 5; P.V. Nandhidhaa 5.5 bt Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (Uzb) 4; Saina Salonika 5 bt Pratyusha Bodda 4; Anna Styazhkina (Rus) 4 lost to Michelle Catherina 5; Nataliya Buksa (Ukr) 5 bt Karina Ivanova (Ukr) 4; R. Vaishali 4.5 bt Irina Barchuk (Ukr) 3.5; G. Lasya 3.5 lost to Teodora Injac (Srb) 4.5; Gu Tianlu (Chn) 4.5 bt Sakshi Chitlange 3.5.