A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 26, 2012
“The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it” (chess adage)

"The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it” is a chess adage, cited in print since at least 1945. The adage is usually credited to champion chess player Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900), but contemporary citations appear to be lacking.


Google Books
Chess Review
Volumes 13-15
1945
Pg. 24:
Steinitz used to say that the way to refute a gambit is to accept it and in this case he again seems to be right.

Google Books
Chess Review
Volume 14
1946
Pg. 87:
As a rule, and this is no exception, the best way to meet a gambit is to accept it.

Google Books
The World’s a Chessboard
By Reuben Fine
Philadelphia, PA: D. McKay Co.
1948
Pg. 178:
Steinitz used to say that the way to refute a gambit is to accept it and in this case he again seems to be right

11 March 1973, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Chess: A Gambit Refuted” by Larry Evans, pg. E10:
There’s an old saying that the best way to refute a gambit is to accept it.

Google Books
The Literature of Chess
By John Graham
Jefferson, NC: McFarland
1984
Pg. 91:
Steinitz would certainly have taken it, following his own motto ‘The only way to refute a gambit is to accept it.’

New York (NY) Times
Chess
By Robert Byrne
Published: December 19, 1995
(...)
As Wilhelm Steinitz said, the way to refute a gambit is to accept it.

TPMmuckraker
blackpropaganda wrote on July 17, 2007 4:55 PM:
(...)
It reminds me of a chess game, in which a positional player faces a gambiteer. Waxman is playing perfect positional chess, but Rove can sacrifice pieces, and hope to win on time. And as anyone who has studied chess knows, the way to refute a gambit is to accept it; and the way to punish a poor move is with a poorer one.

Google Books
Three Moves Ahead:
What chess can teach you about business (even if you’ve never played)

By Bob Rice
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
2008
Pg. 71:
There is an old saying in chess: The best way to refute a gambit is to accept it. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Monday, March 26, 2012 • Permalink