The gambit... The history and origin of the word is quite in-
The earliest application of the word to chess playing was
ostensibly made in Spain: the term "gambit" was brought into
chess vocabulary by Ruy Lopez (Libro del juego del ajedrez,
1561) who applied it to the Damiano Gambit in the form gambi-
to. The Italians seem at first to have readapted the word as gam-
bitto (G. Polerio in MS, 1575, who opposes giuochi piani to gi-
uochi gambitti)\ later they employed the native form gambetto,
from which the earliest English form "gambet(t)", and later the
English "gambit" come.
The word itself is derived from the Italian word gamba,
meaning "a leg"; and gambitare, meaning "to set traps". Italian
wrestlers speak of gambitare, by which they mean "to set traps to
catch the legs".
The gambit, a cunning and sharp method of opening a game,
does, indeed, conceal a lot of dangerous traps and snares.
In offering a gambit one of the sides (more often White) sac-
rifices a Pawn or two, although occasionally a piece may be in-
volved, to gain time or space, to break up the opponent's centre,
or to set the stage for an early and more effective attack against
the enemy King.
If, in reply to a gambit offered by White, Black also resorts
to a sacrifice, striving to achieve the same objects as his opponent
does, then this method of fighting is called a counter-gambit; if,
however, a sacrifice is turned down by Black, we speak about a