Since I went above 1200, I haven't dropped below. I went up to 1266 but have suffered a couple of losses so am at 1221 now (see previous post for one of the losses).
Psychologically, it has been a big lift to start thinking of myself as a 1200+ player. There are a few things that make it gratifying.
For one, in the ratings systems, Class E players are rated 1200 and below, so you feel like a loser being down in the basement of the class divisions. It is nice to feel like I am finally starting to move up the ranks. I also realize that it is not crazy for me to expect to reach 1500 or so within a few years. Second, good players are more willing to play me now: I've had quite a few games against players rated 1300+. The better my opponents, the faster I should improve (and the more I concentrate on playing well).
Perhaps most important, my goal when I started this was to reach 1200. I began this blog three months after learning all the rules of chess: I knew how the pieces moved since I was a kid, but not the en passant rule, I wasn't sure if pawn promotion was an 'official' move, and I didn't know how to castle (I didn't know if castling was an official move), or how the board was supposed to be oriented. I had read nothing about the game, and had probably played about 50 casual games in my life. My first few games (January 2005) I lost to scholar's mate a few times, and constantly got nailed with back rank mates. I then realized that I would need to build up some pattern-recognition skills, which is what attracted me to de la Maza's circles. In sum, it is nice to finally reach my goal (frankly, I thought I would get to 1200 within two or three months: boy was I naive!), especially given that I am not quite halfway done with the circles (note I didn't start the circles until a couple of months ago: see my training schedule
Based on a suggestion over at Chess Training
, I have used a useful formula at ICC to automate my game seeks:set formula rating>myrating-100 & rating<=myrating+300 & established & noescape
This sets it so that I will play established players rated between 100 points fewer and 300 points more than me (and 'noescape' constrains it so they have to have noescape on so they can't be jerks and disconnect after dropping a piece). For my seek options in the seek game window, I leave the minimum and maximum opponent rating blank: I don't have to reset it, ever, as the formula takes care of things for me.