Endgame specialist, GM Keith Arkell shares his chess wisdom and reflects on his storied career.

GM Keith Arkell is a constant presence in chess tournaments ranging from smaller British weekend tournaments, to big-stage open tournaments like the Chess.com Isle of Man International. Over the years, he has amassed dozens of tournament victories, including winning the 2014 European Over 50 Championship, and tying for first in the 2008 British Championships. Of course, Keith is best known for his legendary endgame prowess, and he shows off and explains his approach to endgames in his enjoyable and instructive new book,  Arkell’s Endings. In our interview,Keith discusses the book, including his fascinating “hierarchy of pawns.” Keith shares some great chess tips as well as life reflections from a life spent wholly immersed in chess. As always, please read on for more details and timestamps.

0:00- We begin by discussing the genesis of Arkell’s Endings, as well as the origins  of Keith’s legendary endgame skills. 

Mentioned: Chess for Life by GM Mathew Sadler and Natasha Regan, Ginger GM Publishing, GM Simon Williams, GM Anatoly Karpov, GM Ulf Andersson, GM Tony Miles, 

08:00- Does Keith think he is uniquely feared due to his propensity for grinding down opponents in long games? 

Mentioned: GM Mark Hebden

12:00- In Arkell’s Endgames, he lays out his “heirarchy of pawns”- how does he value each pawn, and how did he come upon that framework? 

18:30- Keith makes no secret that he dislikes opening theory. How does he approach chess to minimize memorization? How does he characterize his chess style generally? 

Mentioned: IM John Bartholomew,  GM Simon Williams 

26:30- As a European senior champion what is Keith’s advice for other older players? How does he balance a desire to socialize with his chess colleagues while also trying to perform well in tournaments? 

30:30- In addition to an evident endgame prowess, Simon Williams shows some impressive tactical melees that Keith has played  in Arkell Endgames.   How did Keith learn to calculate? 

34:00- Keith has a light touch in Arkell’s Endings, with regard to how much analysis he includes. How did he decide on this approach? 

Mentioned: Bertrand Russell, GM Peter Svidler, IM Ali Mortazavi 

41:50- Perpetual Chess is brought to you in part by Chessable.com. Check out all of their latest offerings here: 

42:30- How does Keith stay sharp in blitz? 

Mentioned: Hodgson, Howell, GM Simon Williams, IM Ameet Ghasi, GM Alireza Firouzja, GM Mickey Howell, GM Luke McShane, GM Gawain Jones,GM Ivan Sololov, John Naylor 

46:00- Are the rumors true, that Keith’s fun first book, Arkell’s Odyssey, will soon be updated and reissued? Keith expounds on some personal issues touched upon in the book, including a lack of confidence before he discovered chess, and a history of panic attacks. 

56:00- Keith made an early decision in life to try to avoid a “real job.” How old was he when he made this decision? How strong was he at chess? 

Mentioned: IM Susan Lalic, GM Glenn Flear, WIM Christine Flear 

1:03:00- What are Keith’s favorite places that he has visited for tournaments? 

Mentioned: GM Vassily Smyslov, GM Lev Psakhis, Arkell-Psakhis 1983,  GM Leonid Yudasin, GM Alexander Khalifman, Marshall Chess Club, 

1:08:00- How did Keith find his chess heroes, like Anatoly Karpov and Ulf Andersson? 

Mentioned: Simple Chess, My System, Think Like a Grandmaster, Chess for Zebras, Fred Reinfeld, Irving Chernev, GM Yuri Averbakh 

1:13:00- What is Keith’s approach to analyzing his own games? 

1:15:30- What was it like to play Magnus Carlsen when Magnus was 11 years old? What other memorable encounters has Keith had with top players? 
Mentioned: Arkell-Carlsen 2002, Isle of Man International, GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Sergei Karjakin, Arkell-Karjakin 2003, GM Michael Adams, Gm Jonathan Speelman, GM Nigel Short, GM Anish Giri, GM Teimour Radjabov, GM Vidit Gujrathi 


Thanks so much to Keith for joining the show! 

Get Arkell’s Endings here:

Follow Keith on Twitter here:

Track him on Facebook here:

Check out how he did at Pardubiche here: 


  1. I'm trying to get hold of Arkell's odyssey. Can you contact Keith for me?

  2. As always, a fantastic podcast! I was lucky enough to get his endgame book from the Gingergm shop. It is truly amazing. Carslbad for life!

  3. A great podcast. I have to say, out of all the guests presented on this show, I think Keith Arkell and Erik Kislik are the best guests I have seen. About Kislik, well he is very philosophical and focuses mostly on the chess concepts as well as explaining what kind of training you should do. Arkell is quite similar and reminds me of Kislik in a way. Most podcast guests seem to talk mostly about chess drama and banter that doesn't teach chess progression, but these two guys are exceptions.

  4. ฏ๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎ฏ๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎๎

  5. I remember Keith when we were at the same school, he would travel all over the place on his moped playing tournaments..his brother Nick was apparently a good level too

  6. Please interview Swapnil Dhopade, he has an amazing book on Chessable called Micro Plans: Mastering Weak Pawns

  7. That's my chess coach, Anuurai, in the picture with Keith!

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