A few years ago I was working towards a 2000 rating. Then in 2009 after a string of great performances by my opponents, I took a breather from tournament play. I believe silicon/human assistance was behind some of this decline though not all. When 1800 opponents play chess that leaves me wondering which piece I can move without losing a piece at move 15, that's probably silicon assistance. When even lower rated opponents find complicated tactical/strategical sequences while a stronger player is standing behind me I can imagine a series of hand signals or other means were used to communicate moves. ( I believe I have witnessed the latter in park chess. ) When I drop a piece in time pressure in an otherwise winning position and have to scramble to draw, well that's me.
In any case, in those two years, I have given up my affection for the number. Specifically the USCF rating. I like to think that my love of chess has been driven by a need for chess understanding all along. Deep down though there was always a satisfaction that this understanding translates into a higher and higher rating. Not sure exactly why that's a motivator and yet it is. I have left those ideas behind for now. What I would like is to develop deep positional understanding of chess. Let numbers be numbers.
With regards to tournaments, I want to play human and not silicon opponents. Not that I have anything against the silicon, but I can play the silicon at home. Why am I paying and travelling to a tournament to play a machine that can play at such unintelligible perfection for me to benefit from? And with human opponents my preference is to play the player sitting across from me and not a shadow. My theory is that cheating in chess is driven more by the prize money than an interest in achieving a higher rating. Less prize money = less cheating ( atleast in my theory ).
So my goal is to play in some of the more non-descript CCA events in the coming year where hopefully cheating is not present or less so. So no World Open... If nothing else I should have loads of blog fodder and games to post.