Taking place in Cologne, Germany, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competitions are starting up with the Intel Extreme Masters Global Challenge slated for December 15-20 and will be the LAN tournament in six months since the outbreak of COVID-19 that suspended most in-person events. The top eight teams from IEM New York 2020, IEM Beijing-Haidian 2020, and DreamHack Open Fall 2020, all of who will be fighting for a chance to get into the Intel Grand Slam along with the prize money of half a million USD.
The qualifying events will be still held online with the IEM New York being set for October 6-25, the DreamHack Open is on October 15-25, and the IEM Beijing-Haidian tournament will have the winners of IEM NY and DreamHack compete against each other November 6-22. This will wrap up the end of the qualifications that have been happening online throughout the whole year so far. The winners of that will go onto the IEM Global Challenge in December, while non-qualifying teams will earn smaller participation rewards that are still thousands of dollars.
The top four teams in the qualifiers will also join up with four teams that are invited. The final line up will have three North American teams and five teams from Europe. All of the invitees will be determined by the ESL World Ranking system, with two invites for Europe, one for the CIS Region, and a slot for North America. The finals will feature the eight teams competing against each other in a double-elimination tournament. While the event will be the first tournament to be held in person since the start of COVID-19, the event still can be canceled depending on how the virus situation escalators or not in the upcoming months. ESL is planning to host a similarly formatted tournament for League of Legends‘ Worlds 2020 if this IEM Challenge goes off without any issues.