Why is Remy LeBeau's nickname Gambit?

In chess, gambit is an opening tactic in which the player sacrifices a pawn to get a better position. I am not familiar with Gambit being a good chess player (or if he plays chess at all, unlike Magneto and Charles Xavier, who are known to play together).

According to Wiktionary, the origin of the word is the Italian "gambetto", meaning "tripping". The main use of it today, however, is in chess.

  • 5
    His name was Remy LeBeau. He was a street hustler from New Orleans. The guards at the prison called him Gambit because he kept taking all their money at poker. - X-Men: Origins - Wolverine
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 21 at 13:21
  • An homage to The New Avengers? - imdb.com/title/tt0074031
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Apr 21 at 13:40
  • 5
    "Gambit" sounds cool and works with LeBeau's risk-taking roguish character and background in thievery. His signature playing cards are a nod to gambling and magic. Other than that there doesn't seem to be clear evidence anywhere from the creators as to how they picked the name. The name has nothing directly to do with chess.
    – shim
    Commented Apr 21 at 14:22
  • 2
    "Gambit" is another word for a tactical gamble - designed to take an advantage, but not without risk. And since Remy plays with cards, which are synonymous with gambling...
    – user25730
    Commented Apr 21 at 22:34
  • 2
    @OrangeDog in English, though? OED has the first English usages (1656 onwards) completely chess-based, and it's not seen figuratively until 1853 (and even then as a metaphor for chess)
    – AakashM
    Commented Apr 22 at 13:05


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