What defines the name of a gambit? To be obvious, if someone were to use a gambit often (of their own theory), you would name that gambit after them or so, right (like the Ruy Lopez opening)? How then do we get the names of the gambits?

  • Slightly different question, but the answer is in spirit the same: chess.stackexchange.com/questions/29043/… – Ian Bush Oct 27 at 17:48
  • I think you may have the wrong idea about what "gambit" means in the sense of a chess opening. Your question is about openings generally. A gambit is specifically an opening which involves some sort of sacrifice of material. See e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambit . For example the Ruy Lopez which you mention in your question would not normally be called a gambit (although there are possible gambit variations within it). – James Martin Oct 29 at 10:38
  • Yes, I understand that a gambit is when you trade a piece for a significant advantage, I was only using the Ruy Lopez opening as an example! Thank you for your consideration, though! – bean delivery man Oct 29 at 17:17

There is no general rule in naming openings or opening lines in general or gambits. Sometimes it’s the inventor, sometimes the place they lived, they were born, they played the line the first time, and so on. To make it more complicated, openings can have different names in different languages. In German, the Petroff defence is named Russian defence, and Benko Gambit is called Wolga-Gambit. The Sokolski is also called Orang-Utan. So there really is no general rule but in some cases some amusing histories.

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  • 2
    One example of an amusing history is the Halloween Gambit – pulsar512b Oct 27 at 18:17
  • Very helpful! Thank you! – bean delivery man Oct 28 at 16:57
  • @pulsar512b Ah, Krabbe's site, as I figured: a useful and obligatory site to link. – Rewan Demontay Oct 28 at 18:20
  • It's basically mandatory for like, half the questions on here. And flat out answers like 10%. – pulsar512b Oct 30 at 4:59

Depends- there's no real rule outside of "convention" and when a name's settled on by the community at large, it tends to stay that way (as openings in general). Often, it'll be named after a person who played it a lot, developed the theory, a country related to it by the nationality of one or more people that played/developed it (or otherwise related), or the opening name was just made up by someone. Also, a lot of the time opening names have just been.. forgotten why.

Also note that some openings including gambits are known by multiple names- the first gambit example to come to mind is the Benko Gambit, which is sometimes called the Volga Gambit in Eastern Europe. So tldr: depends on the gambit, could be a bunch of reasons.

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As the other answers indicate, gambits - and openings in general - can receive their names from different factors. A few examples:

  • The King's Gambit gets its name from opening with the king's pawn and gambiting the immediately adjacent flank pawn. The Queen's Gambit is similarly named, except the gambit is on the queen's side of the board.

  • Although the Budapest Gambit had been played previously, it seems to have taken its name from the location of the first time the gambit was used in a game of significance between high level players.

  • The Evans' Gambit gets its name from the man credited with inventing it (notably not GM Larry Evans nor IM Larry D. Evans).

The book Chess Opening Names explores the naming of several popular openings, including some gambits. The book has three sections, one each for openings named for: people, places, and "stories". (As I type this, I'm about half way through the audio version of the book - mostly listening while I'm driving. The chess theory is light, but I find the history interesting.)

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