The King of Chess

What would happen if the Reigning World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, played chess against a live national audience connected to the studio via a mobile app? It happened in Norway in November 2014, and the audience connected via web, iOS, and Android apps built by Norse Digital. With over 1.2 million live viewers and 10,000 live app participants, the event pushed new boundaries in the world of live television / audience interactions. 

The Concept

"King of Chess - can Norway beat Carlsen?" Was a live TV show that aired on Sunday, November 30th across Norway. The concept was that reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen would play against live viewers throughout Norway via a free mobile app. Audience members were able to choose and vote, via the app, on what the next chess move should be to beat Carlson. It was to be delivered mobile app for iOS and Android devices, as well as a version for the web, in addition to an admin system and extensive statistical tools.

The Project Scope

The chess matches between Norway and Magnus were broken down into 7 parallel games - each led by various groups playing in the studio (alongside the television audience's game). The Norse Digital designed mobile app was used by all the groups. 

In addition to the mobile app, Norse Digital developed a user-friendly admin system to setup and manage the game, as well as an advanced statistical tools to extract player statistics. This made it possible for NRK to showcase fascinating statistics on everything from demographics to the interests and occupations of participating users. 

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User Experience

Audience members were able to participate via mobile (iOS or Android apps), tablet or on the web. While the game was going on user's could track their own performance and compare themselves to other participants. 


  • There were an average of 424,000 viewers
  • At peak there were over 525,000 simultaneous viewers
  • Overall there were over 1.3 million viewers of the broadcast
  • # 1 on Apple AppStore & Google Play toplists in Norway
  • 55,000 downloads of the mobile app

Project Information

Customer: Nordisk Film TV AS
Type of project: Game, Mobile, web, TV
Our Role: Development of necessary technology related to the TV show, including a full backend and admin solution, front-end website, comprehensive statistics engine with tailored tools for statistical search and filtering, integration to NRK's visual department, and of course the mobile app. 
Technology: iOS development, Android development, front-end, back-end admin.