One of the first lessons we are taught as a kid learning to play baseball is to not take your eye off the ball. If you take your eye off the ball bad things generally happen. If you are up to bat you might strike out. If you are fielding you might not catch the ball.
Very rarely can you succeed when you take your eye off the ball. And when you do it's luck rather than skill that prevailed.
Early in the week I posted that I was at least picking up my work on tactics. Since that post I haven't done any work at all barring a few puzzles I did this morning. I took my eye off the ball.
The result? Yesterday I played in the Hales Corners Challenge XVII and went 1-3 while shedding 19 rating points. From 1704 down to 1685.
I will post more about the tournament later, including my games, but suffice it to say that in the first round I easily won against a 1505, then in round two I lost to a 1943 after achieving a winning position. Round three saw me losing to my current coach who is rated 2124, then in the final round I pressed way too hard to win and lost against a 1515.
Had I not taken my eye off the ball I would have likely won either my second or fourth round games.
So I will now punish myself as promised earlier by reading One Move Checkmates
After that I will spend some time working through some of the exercises in Chess Tactics for Champions, which is a book I thoroughly enjoy.