The Chronicle appeared pretty regularly from the mid-40s into the 80s; its chess column perhaps less so. After a short break, as it was wont to have, it re-appeared in January 1967 posing a mate in two problem, which we reproduced in an earlier episode, but here it is again (solutions are at the end, if you need them).
Given in the Broadmoor Chronicle 1967“For Chess Fans” was the heading of that edition of the chess column, but it might also have intrigued an unchess fan as it revealed that in the 1920s Broadmoor had a problem composer in its ranks, and that his work had been published in The Daily Telegraph. He was one Walter Stephens. After another break, of two years, the Chronicle at last gave its readers the solution, and offered a second Stephens problem (also a mate in two, as are they all in this post)
Given in the Broadmoor Chronicle 1969
"Strange" his behaviour may have been (not only on the tenuous account above, but from other testimony as well), but inebriated he certainly was - he’d been drinking for several days according to the Police surgeon who saw him after his arrest - and at 10.15 pm, in the street outside 45, Honeybrook Road, Clapham, just off the South Circular, near the Common, he emptied the revolver into his unfortunate wife (they’d been married for 21 years; her sister said they were very fond of each other, as did he; Stephens was already aged 47), and she died the following morning in St. Thomas’s Hospital (though, as the post-mortem showed, the medics had not spotted, in their first examination, the fatal bullet in her lung).
The scene of the crime, today
(from Google Street View)
Now, in 1967 the Broadmoor Chronicle told its "Chess Fans" that back in 1922 – that’s 45 years earlier - Stephens (who had by then been in Broadmoor for 17 years) had written a letter of complaint to the Daily Telegraph. The Chronicle reproduced the text of the letter:
There has been so much piffle written about Broadmoor in the papers of late that perhaps you would like to be able to say something true about it, so I enclose a couple of my problems as a sample of the work done here.And yes, Walter Stephens had indeed written to the Telegraph. Here is the letter, as printed in the paper's chess column on July 1st 1922, along with the two problems given above:
Given in Chess Problems Made Easy (1924)
by T.Taverner, Chess Editor "Daily News"
And not only that: the Chronicler was able to report also that Stephens had been published in the Manchester City News, the Observer, and so on and so forth – a fact which is not mentioned in the 1922 letter itself. Is it really likely that the 1967 chronicler could have found out for himself about Stephens' widely-published problems by, say, researching the newspapers of the 1920s? In Broadmoor? Surely not. Could somebody have told him? Well, if so, who? Could Stephens' personal papers have been somehow handed down within the hospital, patient to patient? In a high-security set-up like that one? And where might they be now?
Thus we finish this post with that mystery, three more Stephens problems from The Problemist of the 1920s (below), and another question: who was A. Foster?
Three problems by A. Foster and W. Stephens
From The Problemist (l to r) 1928, 29 and 30
Sourced from Meson