The origin of this particular conventional method is somewhat disputed. The word raptor actually means a bird of prey, such as an eagle, falcon, hawk, and vulture. According to Mr. Ulf Nilsson, the Raptor 1 No Trump overcall is a Swedish innovation from the mid-1980s by Mr. Magnus Lindkvist and played at the time in his partnership with Bjørn Fallenius.
This convention was adopted by many Swedish bridge players in the mid-level and generally extended to include, after a 1 Minor suit opening, some 4-card Major and specifically 5 plus in the other Minor suit. It was later picked up by Mr. Zmudzinski-Balichi (who often has played against Sweden) and was under debate during the 1994 semifinals against Sweden.
But, according to Mr. Tomasz Kozlecki, he began using 1 No Trump 5-4 in the year 1988. This convention was from a special edition of the Polish "Bridge" magazine from 1987. In the beginning of 1990s, according to Mr. Tomasz Kozlecki the original description of this convention was found in Polish "Bridge" dated 1979, which has not been confirmed.
And, according to Mr. Konrad Ciborowski, this convention was created by the authors of Polish Strong Pass Systems, devised by Mr. Stanislaw Ruminski and Mr. Lukasz Slawinski (the same authors who created NoName, Regres, etc) but sadly, as most of Polish bidding inventions, received no publicity in English bridge-related publications.
It was created in the 1970s or late 1960s and a description of this convention can be found in a Polish "Pikier" magazine in 1981. This particular conventional method is sometimes referred to also as the Polish No Trump, especially by bridge communities in Europe. See: Poland 1 No Trump Overcall - Polish 1 No Trump Overcall in the Glossary.
Another source claiming origin follows with the explanation of the concept. This explanation can be found on Wikipedia. Raptor 1NT overcall is a contract bridge convention that indicates a two-suited hand with exactly four cards in an unbid Major and a longer suit in an unbid Minor.
The idea to utilize a 1NT overcall to denote a 5-4 two-suiter seems to have originated independently in Sweden and Poland in the early eighties of the twentieth century. The name, however, comes from Mr. Ron Sutherland and his son who re-invented this approach and published it in a Toronto magazine in 1993 under the acronym "wRAP around TORonto" style.
Therefore, the exact origins of this conventional method is unknown, and there are several variations and/or even conventional bidding sequences, whereby the Raptor method may be used and employed depending on the partnership agreement. The concept behind a Raptor 1 No Trump overcall is to show a distributional holding with exactly a 4-card Major suit and a 5/6-card Minor suit.
The following illustration should clarify the concept.
East AK873 43 AQ65 43
South Q65 KQJ5 8 QJ1076 1 1 NT
The 1 No Trump overcall by South immediately following a suit opening bid by the opposing side shows exactly a 4-card Heart suit and an unknown 5/6-card Minor suit. The other Raptor 1 No Trump overcalls are shown in the following chart:
Opener Overcaller Meaning 1 1 NT Shows an unknown 4-card Major suit and a 5/6-card Diamond suit 1 1 NT Shows an unknown 4-card Major suit and a 5/6-card Club suit 1 1 NT Shows a 4-card Spade suit and an unknown 5/6-card Minor suit 1 1 NT Shows a 4-card Heart suit and an unknown 5/6-card Minor suit
By inference, if the overcall is either 2 Clubs or 2 Diamonds, then the overcaller, in most cases, will not hold a 4-card Major suit. The disadvantage, many feel, is that the natural 1 No Trump overcall is lost, but many partnerships employing the Raptor 1 No Trump overcall have adopted the pass or double to fill this void. This is due to the fact that the Raptor 1 No Trump overcall can also be employed in the sandwich position, such as in the following auction:
West North East South 1 Pass 1 1 NT
KQJ5 K5 83 QJ976
The 1 No Trump bid by South in fourth seat in this particular auction shows exactly a 4-card Spade suit and a 5/6-card Club suit. By any auction by the opponents after both opponents have bid a Minor suit and a Major suit, a Raptor 1 No Trump overcall in the Fourth Seat shows exactly a 4-card suit in the other Major and a 5/6-card suit in the other unbid Minor suit.
The name raptor, however, seems to have come from the country of Canada. Mr. Ron Sutherland and his son wrote claiming a third invention in the 1990's, but they gave it the acronym wRAP around TORonto style, publishing in a Toronto magazine in 1993. It is also, according to an interview with Mr. Eric Rodwell, sometimes called the Polish Notrump Overcall.
See also: Raptor Method from Schuler Precision (Note: this link is no longer active). This information has also only been preserved and archived on this site in a .pdf file format for future reference.
If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.
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