March 5 - The Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship began today with group play. Players seeded into Groups A and B battled for spots in the tournament's playoffs. Each of the four groups has six players; the top three players from each will advance to the playoffs.
After technical difficulties during the first match (sLivko vs. Lucifron), games continued largely without additional issues. In Group A, Protoss players shined, as Yonghwa and PartinG earned first and second place in the group. Yonghwa went undefeated in the group; PartinG lost only to Yonghwa. After a difficult start, Nerchio (predicted by some to win the entire tournament) ended the group play with a 3-2 record, securing the group's third spot in the playoffs.
Whereas Terran and Zerg players seemed to struggle in Group A, the opposite held true for Group B. Ret dominated the group's play, beating the defending champion, MC, 2-0 and guaranteeing himself a spot in the playoffs. However, YoDa (who was 3-1) took out Ret 2-0 in the final match of the day with stunning widow mine play; this victory tied the two players, and both ended the group play with a 4-1 standing. Because of his victory over Ret, YoDa secured the group's first place spot; he will advance to the tournament's playoffs along with Ret and First, who took third place in the group.
Both group winners will advance directly into the tournament's quarterfinals. Those in Group C will play tomorrow for three more spots in the playoffs. The tournament is once again scheduled to start at 9:30 CET (3:30 a.m. EST / 12:30 a.m. PST).
You can view VODs of today's matchups online to relive the action. Be sure to check back here tomorrow for another recap of the games!