Keith was born in 1961. Both he and his brother learned the game when they were children and both developed into strong players. Keith used to represent Droitwich Chess Club in Worcestershire league chess.
Keith was for a time very active in the UK weekend chess circuit winning the Grand Prix on three occasions. He gained his International master title in (IM) 1986 and his Grandmaster title (GM) in 1996.
After easing up on chess he returned to the board last year with a vengeance. He came first equal in the Liverpool British Championships to take the English Champion's title. Other strong tournaments where Keith has finished strongly include second place in the 2001 British Championship, and joint second place in the 2002 Hastings Premier Tournament.
Nowadays Keith is based in Manchester and plays for the nearby Cheddleton-Pointon side in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). So far this season he has scored 5½ out of 6. He usually opens with Queens Pawn Openings and meets 1.d4 with the Nimzo-Indian Defence. He has a line named after him in the Caro-Kann: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5!?
Arkell's line in the Caro-Kan After 3…c5!?
Keith is a feared endgame player in international chess and he often wins long games by exploiting small advantages. Like all GMs, however, he can pounce mercilessly on mistakes in the middle game, as Bruce Jenks found to his cost in a game in the 4NC played in March this year.
White: Keith Arkell
Black: Bruce Jenks
Played: at Hinckley Island on 22 March 2009
Opening : Benoni
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 Bb7 5.Bxf6 gxf6 6.e4 Rg8
6...Qb6 7.a4 f5 8.Nbd2 Bg7 9.Bxb5 fxe4 10.Nxe4 a6 11.Bc4 f5 12.Ng3 (Kromhout-Meyer, Bruma Lake, 1998) with advantage to white, whose pieces are better co-ordinated.
7.Nc3 b4 8.Ne2 d6
A new move. Previously played was 8...Rg4 9.Ng3 Qc7 10.Nd2 Rg5 11.Nc4 Qf4 12.Bd3 (Wall-Steffens, Hastings 1995); but 8...Bh6 9.Ng3 with equality may be black's best here.
9.Ng3 Nd7 10.Bc4 Qb6 11.0-0 Bh6 12.a3 Bf4 13.Nf5 a5
An alternative is 13...a6 14.Qe2 and white stands better as he does after the move played in the game.
14...axb4 15.Rxa8+ Bxa8 16.c3 and white can better exploit the open lines on the queenside whereas black cannot make anything of the open g-file on the king side.
15.N3d4 Be5 16.c3
16.Bb5 h6 is also good for white.
16...bxc3 17.bxc3 Qc7 18.Bb5 Qxc3 19.Bxd7+ Kxd7 20.Rb1 Bxd5 21.Qa4+ Kd8 22.exd5 Bxd4 23.Nxd4 with a clear advantage for white.
Again, 17.Bb5 is good: 17…Bxd4 18.Nxd4 bxc3 19.Qa4 with clear advantage for white.
17...Rg5 is better.
18.Ba6 Bxa6 19.Qxa6 bxc3?
Much better is 19...Bxd4 20.cxd4 Qc7 but white has a winning advantage at masters' level.
Black has just played 19…bxc3. Can you see Keith's winning move ?
Click here to see if you're as good as Keith!
Back to Top Prominent Worcs Players Worcs Simul Worcs Chess
Revised 5 August 2009