Ready Player One
How we cite our quotes:
I didn't want to ask [Aech] for his help. If I couldn't reach the tomb on my own, I didn't deserve to reach it at all. (7.34)
Wade competes not only with Aech, but with himself, driving himself to do things on his own. There's a subtle hint in this sentence that asking Aech for help would mean Wade would have to reveal information that only he's privileged to, something he isn't willing to do at this early, highly competitive stage of the game.
A gifted human player could always triumph over the game's AI, because software couldn't improvise. (8.49)
Wade's showdown with Acererak demonstrates his competitive drive to triumph over a computer program. It also acts as a microcosm for the entire Hunt, which is basically a computer program that can't improvise either.
"Competition brings out the best in me." (9.113)
Art3mis says this line, but it could really apply to just about anyone in the novel. The competition for Halliday's egg is so heated, it puts the pacing into overdrive. If it weren't for all these highly competitive people, the plot wouldn't move nearly as fast.