Neil Bernstein

14 April 1916, New York, NY - 21 November 1967, New York, NY

Neil Bernstein, an American student, came to Scotland to study medicine at Edinburgh. He arrived at Southampton on 10 March 1937; another American student on the same ship, Louis Geronimus, was also heading to Edinburgh for medical studies. At the time, there were limited places for Jewish students in U.S. medical schools, so many of them chose to come to Britain. Both commenced their studies in April 1937.

During his few years in the city, documents show that Bernstein had several addresses: Harold Road (likely a typo for Harelaw or Harlaw Road); Nicolson Street; 3 Glengyle Terrace.

Bernstein was a member of the Stockbridge Chess Club, as was Geronimus.

Bernstein played in the Scottish Championships of 1938 and 1939. The latter event also included Geronimus and yet another American student and eventual winner of the championship, Max Pavey.

Neil Bernstein, left, and Max Pavey in the last round of the 1939 Scottish championship
Aberdeen Press and Journal, Friday, April 14, 1939, p. 9.

Chess and Checkers Club, New York University ca. 1934 

Comparing with the first photo, Bernstein might be standing far left.

Bernstein sailed to America in July 1939, but didn't return to Edinburgh because of the outbreak of WWII. However, he later continued his medical studies at Middlesex University in Massachusetts.


Compiled by Alan McGowan
Historian/archivist, Chess Scotland

Updated 10/5/2020