Jonas Brothers

There were four brothers who were involved with chess in the West of Scotland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were the sons of Edward James Jonas (c. 1825-4 August 1911, Glasgow), for some time the Episcopal Rector of Coatbridge.

Edward Jonas had some kind of connection to Glasgow Chess Club, based on an inscription in a copy of his book Recollections of Syria and Palestine (1857), which said:

Presented to the Glasgow Chess Club for Competition by the Author Jan'y 1864.

All the brothers played for West of Scotland in the matches against the East:

1889 - ACA and WH Jonas

1890 - CM and GBW Jonas

1892 - CM and WH Jonas

1894 - All four brothers

1896 - CM Jonas

1905 - ACA Jonas

Two brothers emigrated to Australia; William was there by December 1895 and Charles followed a few years later.

George Burrell W. Jonas (1855, Greenock-1904, Edinburgh)

Member of Glasgow CC.

Charles Marriott Jonas (1860, Kilmarnock-1915, Australia)

Along with other members of his family he helped form Coatbridge CC in 1889.

Also associated with Glasgow CC. In 1893, when he was captain of the club's second team, he won the Junior Championship and Macfarlane Cup at the club with a score of 17/20 (BCM 1893, p. 126).

After emigrating to Australia he retained his interest in chess, which included representing Victoria in inter-State matches. (Chess Amateur December 1911, p 463.)

William Henry Jonas (1865, Old Monkland-16 May 1929, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

'A Scot by birth, and ex-champion of the Glasgow CC, Mr Jonas made his first public appearance in Australian chess in 1896. He was prominent for many years, once challenging L. Jacobson for the championship of Australia, though finding the task too much. He last competed in an Australian championship tourney at Sydney three years ago'. [BCM 1929, pp 351-2]

Alfred C.A. Jonas (1866, Old Momkland-25 October 1938, Glasgow)

Associated with Glasgow CC, as well as the Burns and Bohemian clubs.

'The death took place last week of A.C.A. Jonas, of Bohemian CC, and at one time a member of Glasgow and other local clubs. Mr Jonas was 72, and the youngest and last surviving of four brothers who were very active and strong players in the West of Scotland a good many years ago, but he was little known to the present generation of players outside of the Bohemian coterie. [Glasgow Herald chess column, November 4, 1938.]

At 166 Hyndland Road, Glasgow, on 25th October, 1938, Alfred Charles Alexander Jonas, aged 72 years, youngest son of the late Edward James Jonas, rector of Coatbridge.
[Glasgow Herald, 26 October 1938, p. 1.]

Compiled by Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland

Updated - 31/01/2019