ESL, Intel and AnyKey announced today the fifth edition of the women’s Intel Challenge will return to Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) Katowice in Poland on February 28 - March 2, 2019. Eight of the world’s best women’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) teams will battle for the coveted title and the $50,000 USD prize pool on a global stage.
The Intel Challenge started in 2015 to provide a platform for female players to compete on the global stage. The Intel Challenge is a groundbreaking initiative between ESL, Intel and AnyKey to foster growth and diversity in esports by spotlighting the top women’s CS:GO teams and providing a platform for new leaders to emerge.
Team Dignitas, the 2018 Intel Challenge Champions, will receive a direct invite to participate in the group stages of the Intel Challenge, which takes place on February 28. The remaining seven slots will be filled with the top teams that have proven themselves in the online qualifiers. The qualifiers will take place in four regions – Europe, Asia, North America and South America – on the following dates:
• Team Dignitas, 2018 Champions (direct invite)
• January 25 - EU qualifier #1 - 1 slot
• January 28 - EU qualifier #2 - 1 slot
• January 30 - EU qualifier #3 - 1 slot
• February 2 - EU qualifier #4 - 1 slot
• January 25 - Asia qualifier - 1 slot
• January 26 – North America qualifier - 1 slot
• January 27 – South America qualifier - 1 slot
"In a world where anyone can enter ESL tournaments and compete, we think that there's no reason why a woman shouldn't be the champion of the biggest competitions,” said Michal Blicharz, Vice President of Pro Gaming at ESL. “We've built the Intel Challenge with Intel to help promote female role models in esports with the hope of inspiring more women to take up competitive gaming and try to become the best in the world."
“Esports and gaming are connecting people throughout the world and empowering diverse voices in ways that have not been possible before. Intel is committed to delivering world-class esports experiences, and that includes creating opportunities for diversity with initiatives like the Intel Challenge to shift the focus of esports toward a more inclusive one,” said John Bonini, VP of VR, Gaming and Esports at Intel.
“The Intel Challenge highlights some of the world’s best women in esports on one of the world’s biggest esports stages. These players are role models for aspiring esports competitors around the world, and always bring some exciting matches to Katowice,” said Morgan Romine PhD, Director of Initiatives at AnyKey.
IEM, the longest running pro gaming circuit in the world, returns to Katowice, Poland for the sixth year in a row with the IEM World Championship. This year's CS:GO championship has been awarded official Major status by Valve. Competitions will span across two consecutive weekends, with Dota 2 on the main stage on February 22 - 24, and CS:GO and StarCraft II competitions on February 28 - March 3 in addition to the IEM Expo.
Entrance to IEM Katowice Expo 2019 is free of charge and tickets for ESL One Katowice and IEM Katowice are already on sale via Ticketmaster. Make sure to follow IEM on Twitter and Facebook and visit http://en.intelextrememasters.com/ to stay up to date on the latest news. For more information on inclusivity and diversity in competitive gaming check out AnyKey on Twitter and Facebook.