hgm wrote:Well, this is only partly true. Stockfish, for instance, could easily participate: its originality is not in question, the source is open and verifiable, and there would be plenty of people willing to operate it at their own expense.
It is just that some of its main authors for unfathomable reasons want to wage a personal vendetta against ICGA, or other organizers of over-the-board tournaments.
I can only speak for myself, but I don't have any sort of personal vendetta against ICGA, and I have played in (and immensely enjoyed) over-the-board computer chess tournaments in the past. The reason I no longer want to do so is that a few years back I arrived at the regrettable conclusion that although over-the-board tournaments are great when viewed as social events (online tournaments are terrible in this regard), the competitive side of computer chess does far more harm than good. I think the community would be better off with more focus on cooperation and less on competition. Excessive competition inevitably leads to cloning, accusations of cloning, suspicion, obfuscated node counts (whether to hide the engine's origins or to make it harder to figure out how it works), and endless flamewars, as can already be observed in this very thread.
I therefore consider it a good
thing that many strong programs don't participate in tournaments like the WCCC. By making the tournament less prestigious, we maintain the positive sides of over-the-board tournaments (a rare opportunity to interact socially with people who share this unusual hobby), while eliminating or at least reducing the toxic effects of competition.
The decreasing number
of participants, on the other hand, is a problem. I'm toying with the idea of participating with some experimental toy engine running on a mobile phone or smartwatch some time in the future, and I hope others will consider something similar.