The discus rating system : proposals... (Part 5)


The discus rating system used often diverges from one competition to another. As I explained in the series of articles dedicated to the discus classification in competition ; each event has its own mode of operation.

(The three competitions of Dortmund, Athens and Napoli which will allow the election of the 'European Cup Master' had for their part the same rating system).

The regulation of the competition is to date the sum of the classification system + the scoring system.

The discus rating system is based on judging criterias. They are more or less numerous according to the contest and are sometimes subject to coefficients.

For example, each criteria rating can be noted on 10 maximum points. One or more criteria(s) can be granted by a coefficient increasing the weight of the note. (For example, If the eyes note has a coefficient of 1.5, with a 6/10 This criteria would yield 1.5 x 6 = 9 points).

On the other hand, the discus rating system is today not linked to an official standard.
It is an error and I think categorization should be linked to the standard which must be itself related to the rating system. And result would be :

Regulation = classification system + standard + scoring system

The discus rating system is very rarely referred by competitors, BUT it is one of the keys for the success of a contest.

Very often, the judges and their judgments are contested without someone ask the question about what rating system was proposed to them...


The three competitions of the European master cup have normally used the same scoring system.

Used by the "Napoli Aquatica" contest


Unknown judging criterias

In many contests, the participants do not know the judging criterias that will be used to evaluate their fish.

Results of the notes are also not always given to the participants and this seems to me rather surprising.

As I explained during my conference in the France Discus Show of Arvert 2016, I think our competition need more transparency.

I don't know one person been able of winning a game without knowing the rules !
How to win a poker tournament or a chess game without knowing the rules ?

chess game

How to win without knowing the rules of the game?

The lack of transparency on this subject have 3 effects :
* It leads to the contestations
* Then leads to frustration
* To finally cause a loss of interest

Gradually some participants go away from contests while simple explanations on the scoring system could give clear targets to breeders.

Many people complain about the arrival of major faults seen on the winning discus in competitions. They also prefer to criticize judges, While they should question the scoring system proposed...

I also personally think that some rating systems may undergo some changes.

système de notation des discus ARVERT 2014

A strong choice of the France Discus Show organizers in Arvert who display the detailed winner notes since several years already


The scoring criterias

It is in my opinion very important that these criterias are in sufficient number. Separate high quality level discus is often played with details. Judging fish with few criterias becomes in my opinion less relevant because the winners are dicided more and more with details...

So ; When the number of criterias is sufficient, It allows you to more easily justify the final results.

A rating system must :
* Be easy to use
* Easy to understand
* Contain coefficients on the criteria considered important
* Contain a minimum number of scoring criterias
* Finally avoid subjective judging criteria.

Among the criterias that can be considered subjective we find in many contests the criteria "general impression"..

According to the contest, This criteria does not always seem to mean the same thing... emphasized as too subjective by several breeders during the World Congress of Napoli 2015, I also think that this criteria should be transformed.

Andrew Soh utilisant le système de notation des discus grecque

The judges use the rating systems proposed by the organizers (Here Andrew Soh)


The minimum criterias for a discus rating system

I think that 7 or 8 ratings criterias should be concidered as a minimum :

1) Attractiveness : It would replace the "general impression" criteria becoming too subjective. The note "attractivnessl" would reward concretely the work of the breeder. The fish is he well acclimated ? Is he ready for the D day ? Is he easy to observe ? So, the work of preparation of the fish before the contest would be rewarded.

2) Shape : This criteria would deserve a high coefficient.

3) Size : A minimum size must be decided as well as an optimal size. Also, I think that no additional points should be awarded for XXL fish... Maximum points should be given once the optimum size (decided in the morphological standard) is obtained. This would surely discourage breeders tempted to use unsavory methods to grow their fish beyond measure.

4) Eyes : With a score divided into 3 ; the shape of the eye, its color and size.

5) Fins : symmetry, well arranged, absence of malformations.

6) Opercula/Gills/scales : Taking care to observe their size, form, symmetry and deformity.

7) Pattern : Uniformity and clearness on the whole body.

8) Color : Intensity, quality but also the contrast between the surface and base color for the pattern discus.

Of course the organizers will see this as too big time constraint. because it is true that the rating process is rather long.


How do if the contest brought together lots of fish ?

Could we not inspire us for example from our "guppy lovers" colleagues who judge in details only the best fish designated by the judges ? During the 18th World Championship in the USA, According to Denis Barbé, 420 pairs of guppies were presented !

Thus the judgment would focus on the best subjects, the other could for example benefit from a general appreciation (?).

The development and dissemination of paperless computer scoring system could not resolve this blocking point ? The NaQ (World Championship) for example use computer tablets.

We must take into account the constraints of each and the others, but it seems to me essential to do our utmost to ensure the best evaluations for fish presented in the shows.


About Author

Discus Breeder and Discus columnist, Yann Hoiret share on the website Fanatik-Discus his experience and passion for the King of aquariums. From 2014 He worked as a writer for the french magazine "AquaMag", the German magazines "Discus Live" and "Discus yearbook". He participated as an international judge in France Discus show 2014 and 2016 in Arvert, au Greek Discus Show 2014 in Athens, Discus Show in Paris Grigny 2015, 2017 and 2019, au FIDO concurso 2016, 2017 and 2018 Spain, au Nordic Discus Show 2018 Sweden, au France Discus Show 2018 Cognac, Discusvrienden the discus competition 2018 and 2019 Netherlands.


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