This week, the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF ) came under heavy fire for creating gender specific tournaments at its World Championship BAKU 2014 in Baku, Azerbaijan from Nov. 12-17. Under yesterday's rules, only men would be allowed to compete in playing  Hearthstone, DOTA 2, StarCraft II and Ultra Street Fighter IV. Controversially, a separate but equal women's tournament was only allowing for a StarCraft II and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 competition.

The IeSF defended the decision to further promote eSports as a legitimate sport to international sport authorities, and gender specific tournaments were necessary to meet the standards of all major international sporting events, like the World Cup and the Olympics. Administrator Markus "Olodyn" Koskivirta also claimed that the tournament also wanted to "avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8 [round of eight]) among other things."

Heaven forbid a GIRL eliminate a BOY from a video game tournament. How scandalous!

Luckily, the IeSF came to its senses, hopefully realizing that it is not a real sport and that unavoidable physical differences between men and women don't apply when everyone is sitting in a chair, pounding away at a keyboard in front of a computer screen. The organization backtracked on the gender specific tournaments after an emergency meeting, establishing an "Open for All" tournament as well as the originally planned "female" tournament.

"The IeSF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions. Upon hearing these concerns, the IeSF convoked an emergency session of the IeSF Board to respond. As a result, IeSF shall have two event categories: 'Open for All' events and events that are reserved for women. The events which were initially set aside as the male division will now be open to all genders, and the events which were initially set as the female division will remain as they were."

The IeSF claims that the female-only tournament will remain in place to promote and shine a light on women gamers who make up a vast minority of the eSport scene.

"The IeSF Board addressed its reason for maintaining events for women, citing the importance of providing female gamers with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports-currently a male-dominated industry. Female gamers make up half of the world's gaming population, but only a small percentage of e-Sports competitors are women. The IeSF's female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events."

So just remember, if you are holding a video game tournament, let the girls compete with the guys, even if it means knocking a dude out of the Round of 8. I know, I'm gasping too. Just the thought! Any professional lady players out there going to step up to the challenge?

Open for All
Dota 2
– Participating teams may consist of 5 male players, 5 female players, or mixed team.
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
– Players of all genders can participate in the event.
Ultra Street Fighter 4
– Players of all genders can participate in the event.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
– Players of all genders can participate in the event.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Players of all genders can participate in the event.

Female Competition
StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
– Female event is conducted separately, in parallel with "Open for All" event.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Female event is conducted separately, in parallel with "Open for All" event.

I suppose this little controversy has had one positive effect for the organization, and that's that I had no idea they even existed up until I stumbled on this news.