In the annual meeting of the CSVN during the ICT-6 tournament the concern was made clear that the number of programmers present decreased, and instead operators with strong programs appeared. In the annual meeting of 2007, during the ICT-7 tournament that concern was repeated concern, especially since many of the top programs in the world participated in the Dutch Open in 2006 and in ICT-7 as well. But the programmers of those programs were not present!
In the ICT-7 only 7 programmers were present, and all of them can be considered ‘regulars’ now. Some of the regulars of the past were not there, and no new incidental participants registered either. To my opinion (and that of several others) that is not because there is no interest in participating, but because strong commercial programs on big hardware is scaring them away. As their programmer is not present, why join? You can play those matches at home too, with even a better chance of winning a game. Although this does not scare me away, I am sure it does that with others.
When I participated in a tournament for the first time, ICT-2 in 2002, there were 22 participants. Out of those 22, only 3 were operated by ‘locals’: Jan Louwman was operating Insomniac, John Verhoeven represented Sjeng, and Hans van der Zijden with Chess Tiger. Authors like Stefan Meyer-Kahlen, Frans Morsch and Matthias Feist, Ulrich Türke, Rudolf Huber, and many others were there in person.
It would be very nice to have this type of tournament again. Basically, the strength of the tournament is not important, nor the size of it. When a program participates there is one major requirement: The author has to be there!
So ... I volunteered. I organized such a tournament. It took place in Belgium, close to my home, in a holiday farm (de Bouwhoeve).
The major condition for participation: The Author(s) must be present during the whole tournament