John W. Collins, chess master, teacher and author, has died

NEW YORK - December 2, 2001 - John W. Collins died this morning at age 89. He became a chess master in the 1930s. He played in the US Chess Championship qualifying tournament in 1938 and in the Ventnor City Masters Tournament in 1939. He was also a postal player and played in the first World Correspondence Chess Championship in 1950. Collins continued as an active tournament player through the 1960s.

However, Collins became better known as an author and teacher. He was a regular Chess Life columnist in the 1950s. He is known for his book "My Seven Chess Prodigies: Bobby Fischer, Robert E. Byrne, William J. Lombardy, Donald Byrne, Raymond A. Weinstein, Salvatore J. Matera, Lewis H. Cohen", all of whom he taught.

He was co-editor of the ninth edition of "Modern Chess Openings" and also wrote "Maxims of Chess".

Later, he became better known for his Collins Kids globetrotting events. He had hundreds of students, most of whom he taught in his home.

Collins was not entirely without controversy. He was close to Bobby Fischer but Fischer did not like it when Collins claimed that he had been Bobby's teacher. Fischer said that Collins never taught him anything. Fischer was already near to master strength when he first met Collins in June 1956. When Collins came to Iceland during the 1972 Fischer - Spassky world championship match, Fischer refused to see him except for one extremely brief appearance. Later, Collins stopped claiming to have been Bobby's teacher.

I played Collins in the 1964 Manhattan Chess Club Championship preliminaries. He beat me without much difficulty. I would like to get the game score, because I have lost mine and he kept everything.

I last saw Collins in February 2001 at the US Amateur Team Championship East in Parsippany, New Jersey, when I played for one of the Collins Kids Teams. I reminded Collins that he had defeated me in the 1964 Manhattan Chess Club Championship Preliminaries. "That wasn't me. I am not that old", he quipped.

Sam Sloan

[Event "Master Tournament"]
[Site "VentnorCity"]
[Date "1939.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Collins,John W."]
[Black "Ulvestad,Olaf"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A83"]

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 d6 7.Bd3 Qa5 8.Qd2 Bg4
9.O-O Nbd7 10.a3 O-O-O 11.b4 Qb6 12.Na4 Qc7 13.c4 e5 14.dxe5 dxe5 15.Qc2
Bxf3 16.gxf3 Bd6 17.c5 Be7 18.Nc3 h6 19.Be3 Rhf8 20.a4 a5 21.b5 Bxc5 22.Bxc5
Nxc5 23.Bf5+ Kb8 24.bxc6 Qxc6 25.Rab1 Na6 26.Rb5 Nb4 27.Qb3 Qc7 28.Ne4 Rd5
29.Nxf6 Rxb5 30.Nd7+ Ka8 31.axb5 Rd8 32.Rd1 b6 33.Qe6 Ka7 34.Qd6 Qxd6
35.Rxd6 a4 36.Rd1 a3 37.Ra1 a2 38.Be6 Kb7 39.Bf5 Kc7 40.Rc1+ Kb7 41.Be4+ 1-0

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