Tom may be the only person who reads this post.

Tom and I have been playing Chess for years.

We both played 3+0 (timed games where each player gets 3 minutes total to move). We both floated around a 1500 rating, give or take, for the last year or so.

On August 12th of this year, I started playing 5+0 (timed games where each player gets FIVE minutes total). The idea being that you get more time to calculate your moves and ultimately get ‘better’ at understanding the game of chess.

My rating during my first 5+0 game was 1473. After nearly 250 games at 5+0, my rating was 1688. Tom’s rating during that time span has gone from 1525 to 1451.

I bring this up because Tom does not believe in my rating. He says I ‘couldn’t hack it‘ in 3+0 and had to move to 5+0 because I was too slow.

I’ve always retorted ‘if it’s so easy at 5+0, why don’t you move up and get to my level?‘ and he retorts ‘5+0 is boring and takes too long, why don’t you move back down to 3+0 and see how fast your rating falls‘.

So today, after hitting my all time high of 1688, I decided to give 3+0 a try.

In 11 games at 3+0, my record was 5-5-1, and my rating is still exactly 1688.

In this small sample, it appears to me that 3+0 is just as difficult (or easy) to win at as 5+0. My biased take is that by playing ‘slow’ at 5+0, I’ve gotten definitively better at the game, and THAT’S why my rating has gone up.

So here’s my challenge to Tom! Move up to 5+0, even if just a day, and see how easy it is. If your rating sky rockets to 1688 then I will admit it’s easier. BUT! If you go 5-5-1 or something similar, then 5+0 is equally challenging (though in a different way). In fact, I bet if you stuck to 5+0 you would just become a better player (like I did!).

P.S. for pretty much no one other than Tom; after playing 5+0 for two months, 3+0 feels way more… gimmicky? Time outs happen all the time and a lot of time the player who’s ‘ahead’ loses. That’s obviously the point of having less time – that you need to move fast as well as good – but half the time it’s literally just about moving fast, not good, which doesn’t mean the better ‘chess player’ wins.

Plus, when I lose in 3+0 I get mad and insta-restart a game and I’m on tilt just making blunder after blunder, which is probably why my rating stagnated there. Whereas in 5+0 I actually take a minute when a game is over, decompress, then restart. 3+0 feels way more impulsive and emotional.