One's initial or opening stratagem, maneuver, or tactic meant to give one an advantage. It was a risky opening gambit for the team to throw a Hail Mary on the first play of the game, but it took their opponents by surprise and resulted in a touchdown. The candidate's opening gambit in the debate was to bring up his opponent's marital infidelities, which had come to light in recent weeks.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. an opening movement, tactic, or statement which is made to secure a position that is to one's advantage. The rebel army's opening gambit was to bomb the city's business district. The prosecution's opening gambit was to call a witness who linked the defendant to the scene of the crime.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The first move in a contest, game, or competition of some kind. The term comes from chess and is actually redundant, since in that game gambit signifies a way of opening the game that involves sacrificing a pawn or other piece in order to gain some advantage over one’s opponent. It was being used figuratively by the mid-1800s, and for some reason opening was added in later decades.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer