D Gukesh’s bid to become the youngest Grandmaster in the world hit a roadblock on Saturday night when the 12-year-old lost his third round game against GM Daniele Vocaturo of Italy in the Sunway Sitges International in Barcelona.
This tournament is Gukesh’s — chasing Sergey Karjakin’s record — last chance before December 29, and he had started strong with two wins over lower ranked opponents. But he needed to keep up the momentum against his first higher ranked opponent to ease the pressure.
However, Gukesh’s choice of a Reti opening backfired in the middle game and though the Indian tried to hang on with some quick piece exchanges, black tightened the noose in a pawn knight end game and the Indian resigned after 61 moves.
On the other top boards, three others Indians — Raunak Sadhwani, Krishnan Sasikiran and Nihal Sarin — registered their third straight wins to stay in joint lead with eight others.
In the fourth round, Gukesh will now face compatriot Dhulipalla Bala Chandra Prasad with black and will need a win to keep him on track.