Stewart Reuben wrote:A columnist, a well-known chessplayer, for the Daily Express who was paid Â£60,000 a year. The surprise is that is all he received. Bill Hartston wrote Beachcomber and other material. The business about Latin America is nonsense if it referred to him.
Ah, that's a good spot. Stephen Moss of the Guardian was Tweeting that he thought he knew who Desmond was referring to, but it was neither a chess correspondent nor somebody based in Latin America. He didn't give a name though. But Stewart's guess looks pretty good to me, pending anything better.
The Latin America bit is a complete mystery though.