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John W Collins
J W Collins 
Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  
Number of games in database: 82
Years covered: 1938 to 1967
Overall record: +31 -29 =22 (51.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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Most played openings
D18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch (4 games)
A07 King's Indian Attack (3 games)
B74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical (2 games)
B75 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (2 games)
C97 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin (2 games)
A05 Reti Opening (2 games)
C91 Ruy Lopez, Closed (2 games)
E49 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Botvinnik System (2 games)
A00 Uncommon Opening (2 games)
D15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav (2 games)

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(born Sep-23-1912, died Dec-02-2001, 89 years old) United States of America

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John (Jack) William Collins was born in 1912, in Newburgh, New York, USA, and lived most of his life in New York City. Although a strong master in his own right, in both over the board and correspondence play, he was best known as a chess teacher. In 1999, the United States Chess Federation named Collins as chess teacher of the century, and inducted him into its Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia article: John W. Collins

Last updated: 2017-12-27 16:40:47

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 82  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. E Marchand vs J W Collins 0-1271938New York State ChampionshipD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. J W Collins vs Shainswit 0-1221938Metropolitan Chess LeagueD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
3. F Reinfeld vs J W Collins 1-0211938US Championship Prelim CD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
4. J W Collins vs H Lyman 1-0191938ACF CongressD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
5. S E Epstein vs J W Collins  0-1371938ACF CongressA18 English, Mikenas-Carls
6. Kashdan vs J W Collins  1-019193839th ACF Congress. Prelim 3B73 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
7. J W Collins vs P Rosenzweig  0-1391938ACF CongressD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
8. J W Collins vs B Dahlstrom  1-031193839th ACF Congress. FinalE91 King's Indian
9. Kashdan vs J W Collins  1-038193839th ACF Congress. FinalD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
10. Shainswit vs J W Collins  1-0391938ACF CongressD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. J W Collins vs D S Polland  ½-½361938ACF CongressD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. H Rogosin vs J W Collins 0-1401938Marshall CC ChampionshipE06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
13. J W Collins vs H R Morris  0-1551939Ventnor CityE33 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
14. J W Collins vs M L Hanauer  ½-½541939Ventnor CityC42 Petrov Defense
15. F Reinfeld vs J W Collins  1-0361939Ventnor CityD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
16. M Bain vs J W Collins  0-1351939Ventnor CityD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
17. J W Collins vs E McCormick  0-1571939Ventnor CityD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
18. Santasiere vs J W Collins  ½-½401939Ventnor CityA00 Uncommon Opening
19. J J Leary vs J W Collins  1-0481939Ventnor CityE48 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5
20. J W Collins vs O Ulvestad  1-0411939Ventnor CityA83 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
21. H Burdge vs J W Collins  ½-½251939Ventnor CityD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
22. J W Collins vs J Levin  0-1371939Ventnor CityC99 Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin,
23. J W Collins vs T Knorr  ½-½411939Ventnor CityD82 Grunfeld, 4.Bf4
24. J W Collins vs Santasiere ½-½401942Marshall CC chB74 Sicilian, Dragon, Classical
25. J W Collins vs Kashdan  0-1671947Metropolitan Chess LeagueE48 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 82  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Collins wins | Collins loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-24-04  MidnightDuffer: An additional game is at this link, where Mr. Collins wins.

He authored a book on Seven Chess Prodigies he claims he helped instruct which includes Fischer, Lombardy, Byrne and some others.

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

< Geniuses like Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, and Fischer come out of the head of Zeus, seem to be genetically programmed, know before instructed.>

-- John W. Collins

See the back issue: Jean Collin

May-31-08  mack: '[W]hy is it that a person who's not Mozart can't do it? If you're Mozart, or even Bobby Fischer playing chess, it's grace. You've been granted some grace.'

Susan Howe

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: † December 2, 2001 at the age of 89.

Sources (+ pictures): (German)

Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quotes Of The Day

"Exchanging pieces and pawns to open a vital diagonal is a deadly device."

-- John W. Collins


Sep-23-11  talisman: happy birthday John W. Collins! and Thanks!
Oct-21-13  Karpova: Dagobert Kohlmeyer: <Wer hat Ihr Talent in New York entdeckt, John Collins?>

William Lombardy: <Ich weiß es nicht mehr genau. Collins war es jedenfalls nicht. 1953, als ich 15 Jahre alt war, lud er mich zu sich nach Hause zu einer Turnierpartie ein. Ich schlug ihn in 25 Zügen, obwohl er damals als großer Meister galt. Es ist ein Mythos, dass Collins ein bedeutender Schachlehrer war. Er war nie mein Trainer, auch nicht von Robert und Donald Byrne oder Bobby Fischer, wie es bis heute immer heißt. Höchstens ein Mentor.>

(Question: Who discovered your talent in New York, John Collins? Answer: I don't know exactly. By all means not Collins. In 1953, when I was 15 years old, he asked me over for a tournament game. I beat him in 25 moves although he was regarded a great master back then. It's a myth that Collins was an important chess teacher. He was never my teacher, also not of Robert and Donald Byrne or Bobby Fischer, as is always claimed today. A mentor at most.)

Link: (Interview with Lombardy by Kohlmeyer, "So war Fischer wirklich", October 21, 2013)

Feb-02-16  jerseybob: <Karpova:(Question: Who discovered your talent in New York, John Collins? Answer: I don't know exactly. By all means not Collins.> That doesn't surprise me in the least; Lombardy was an exceptional talent. What is surprising, and a little disappointing, is the general lack of charity in Lombardy's remarks. I've seen pictures of young Bill sitting in Collins' living room enjoying the hospitality, not an easy thing to provide considering Collins' physical handicaps. Doesn't friendship count for anything? "A mentor at most": that's so cold.
Sep-23-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, John Collins.
May-27-21  RookFile: Collins wrote a book: "My Seven Chess Prodigies: The personal and professional stories of the young American geniuses I have tutored". I think Lombardy has the right to say that Collins didn't tutor him, or the other guys.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Collins wasn't their 'tutor.' His place was a sort of clubhouse where guys could come and play chess. Fischer, Lombardy, maybe the Byrne brothers and three lesser lights are the seven players he mentions.

There is a photo of Fischer giving Collins a big hug in Iceland, at the celebration after Fischer finished off Spassky, 1972 world championship. The fact that a troubled person like Fischer would keep up a relationship into adulthood seems remarkable to me. I guess he liked Jack Collins. Obviously JC wasn't a strong enough player to 'teach' Fischer anything but that wasn't the point. Guys grow up doing what they like to do, and chess players gravitated towards Jack's place.

A few years ago I spoke to Bill Lombardy at a chess club in Manhattan, asked him about Collins. He angrily said "I went to his [jack's] place REGULARLY and cleaned up, brought him groceries, and Fischer never did ANYTHING!"*

That makes 100% sense to me and is 100% believable because Bobby Fischer was a selfish and ungrateful man who never did anything extra, anything helpful, for anyone. Bobby Fischer never thanked anyone who helped him in life--EVER. Outside of studying chess Fischer was simply a lazy MoFo, a very poor role model.


*Collins was wheelchair bound and grew increasingly dependent on outside help as he got older, just to get through life's ADLs.

May-27-21  SChesshevsky: Think the use of the phrase " tutor" in Collins book was very intentional. A tutor doesn't necessarily have to be an instructor or coach The definition can probably be spread to a guide who provides structure and imparts some useful info.

Pretty sure Collins delivered some useful info to Fischer and Lombardy. Whether it was availability or suggestions of books or relevant games. Or just general thoughts on openings.

Believe Collins was always honest with his part in those players development. Think 'tutor' was an appropriate fit between "coach" and "acquaintance". Especially when you need something for a book title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: do you really think that Bobby Fischer and Bill Lombardy listened to people?
Premium Chessgames Member
  diceman: <HeMateMe: do you really think that Bobby Fischer and Bill Lombardy listened to people?>

As is always the case, these folks are unhinged nutjobs,

...until they agree with you:

<William Lombardy:

It's a myth that Collins was an important chess teacher. He was never my teacher, also not of Robert and Donald Byrne or Bobby Fischer>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <diceman>

I thought Collins said something to the effect that players of Fischer's strength don't really have teachers. I can't find the quote, though. I don't have Collins' book.

But...what Collins did was give him (i) a place to hang out and play lots of chess with other strong young players (ii) access to a very good chess library, which Fischer took full advantage of. That's important!

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Collins schools Bobby: Fischer vs J W Collins, 1958
Jun-12-21  RookFile: Fischer did give Carmine Nigro credit as being his chess teacher in the first book he wrote.

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