John (Jack) W. Collins

(1912-2001)
United States – Inducted 1991

Jack Collins is recognized by the U.S. Chess Federation as America’s top chess teacher of the 20th century. After becoming a master in the 1930s, he rose through the ranks to become a major figure in the early years of organized American chess. He was a skilled correspondence chess player, serving as the first editor on the subject for Chess Review and winning the U.S. Correspondence Chess Championship. However, he also ranked as one of the top over-the-board players in the country. An active tournament player through the 1960s, he would turn his talents to instruction during the next decade.

He personally taught many top U.S. players including Bobby Fischer, William Lombardy, and Robert Byrne. Perhaps his most lasting legacy is his Collins Kids organization, which pitted a group of young American competitors against foreign teams. Collins Kids were regular fixtures at the U.S. Team Championships and at various international competitions, and the group’s alumni represented the next generation of chess talent. Confined to a wheelchair and assisted by his sister Ethel, Collins taught thousands more through his books and articles, authoring My Seven Chess Prodigies in 1975 and co-editing the 9th edition of Modern Chess Openings  in 1957.