World Chess Championship 2016

Android app for the World Chess Championship.

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Virtual Reality
Past history
The 2016 World Chess Championship featuring Sergey Karjakin and Magnus Carlsen took place November 11 to 30th in New York. The event was broadcasted through web, Android and iOS apps for a fee. It was an urgent project, so, shortly before the championship started, the organizers, World Chess, asked us to create the  Android version. The iOS design was already there, but the server side had no documented API for a mobile app and was in the active reworking stage. It was two weeks before the championship.
Time to panic
All that our team had was the iOS version's design and its map that displayed the app's structure and screen transitions. We had to rework every screen to some extent to account for the requirements of the Android platform.

We had to create an app that would include:

  • Signing in
  • Purchases
  • Exclusive features for authorized users
  • A chessboard with animated pieces that could show turns and allow the user to select a specific in-game turn
  • Video broadcast integration
  • Chats
  • Game stats with a graph
Main screen
Anyone could install the app. Functionality has divided on four modes: user is registered, user is not authorized, user is authorized and user is subscribed
An unauthorized
An authorized
is confirmed
The first things a registered user sees in the app are the news and a countdown to the next game.

An unauthorized user can only see the timer screen and the board.

An authorized user that didn't subscribe has a profile, can read through the news, see the score, watch previous games in the archive and purchase a subscription using the app.

An authorized and subscribed user has all the features unlocked. The Standings screen displays the players' current score.

On the Board screen, the user can see a chessboard with moving figures and flip through the turns to know the next turn the grandmaster can make. This is made possible with the help of a side service that calculates all turn possibilities using a special formula.
Apart from the usual turns, interesting in-game situations like castling, pawn promotion, etc. are animated as well.
Initial tests demonstrated that the delay between the actual turn and its display on the board was about 30-60 seconds. After some fine-tuning, we managed to lower it to 3-5 seconds.
The Stats screen is split into two sections. The upper section displays a graph that shows which player has the advantage. The vertical axis shows the magnitude of the advantage, the horizontal axis represents the time. The graph is stretchable. The lower section evaluates the game according to several parameters.
Chess piece animations and the advantage graph were made with the help of the Canvas class.
The choice of the three modes
On the Live screen the user can choose the broadcasting type: a standard stream through WebView with several switchable camera angles, VR goggles view or 360 degree video, all implemented with the help of a third party library. The broadcasting is available in Russian.
Game comments
The Comments screen allows the user to comment on the game. The Experts only button leaves only the experts' (like Ian Nepomniachtchi, Europe and Russia's 2010 champion) comments on the screen.
Virtual experience
The 2016 World Chess Championship app was the first to make a sports event viewable through VR goggles or in 360 degrees video format. Every user could look at the board and experience the real-world details and "feel" of the championship.
We kept in touch with users in Google Play and their suggestions helped improve the app. This feedback served to improve the app's ratings as well. It was our initiative to enhance the app with the game archive feature and add in it a way to contact the support service.
We really appreciate that the Live Typing team dared to take up this project and totally aced it in such a short time. We look forward to working together in the future more than once.
Sergey Fayfer
Digital Director, World Chess
Nerves to edge
On the eve of the 12th game, both contestants were tied at 5.5 points. In 35 minutes, the grandmasters played a game and ended it with a tie on purpose.
The outcome of the championship was decided on November 30 in the tie break with a victory by Magnus Carlsen.
Mentions in media:
Account manager
Vlad Korobov
Android developers
Aleksandr Mirko
Danil Perevalov
Quality Assurance
Galina Lupanova