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La mia analisi: Il materiale

La lezione del GM SchwartzmanTo tell you the truth I really enjoyed this puzzle, and was looking forward to showing it to you!  Let me tell you why.
We often talk about the importance of good squares in the chess position. You know, those squares where we place let's say a knight, or one of our other pieces, and then marvel at how nice they are placed over there.
Well, how about a case, when not just one square is great, but an entire array of squares, which indeed, happen to share one common trait:  the same color.  What I am talking about?  Just hang on!
Looking at the position above, I would say that the fact that black is better is not under dispute.  Why?  A few reasons...  More space, better placed rook, nice looking queen, safer king, and a hell of a bishop, are more than enough reasons to assert our superiority.  Nevertheless, white too has some things going for him.   For instance, he does have the pair of bishops, and while in the case of the dark squared one that doesn't sound like much of an advantage, you never know what could happen later...
Talking about this "later", I don't know if you noticed, but white has quite a center going there.  If he moves his bishop out of the way, and then pushes the 'e' pawn, suddenly, his position would suffer an impressive improvement.  The good news, though, is that we can stop this from happening without much difficulty.  I mean we can always push our 'd' or 'f' pawns to the 5th rank, and take control of the important e4 square.  But, is this enough, do you ask?
Well, the answer is not easy to give.  You see, the position features so many pawns, that at some point it really becomes difficult to win it... How do you break through the wall of central white pawns, that is the real question?
The correct answer lies in one of the position's characteristics that I have not yet mentioned.  There is one disadvantage that white has, and that might not be so easy to notice, or care about.  What I am talking about are the light squares.  Yes, not just one square, such as c4, where our bishop made its home.  Actually, all of the light squares on the queen side are very weak for white, partly because of the configuration of his pawns. 
The bad news, is that white still has a light bishop.  With it, he can counteract our enormous strength on those squares, and even trade our bishop, which would leave us without the necessary tool to exploit the weakness.  This, and a lot more, is the reason that black's extraordinary move is 1...Re4!

Yes, we are sacrificing the exchange!  Why?  Well, how does complete control of the light squares sound?  Pretty good you say?  I certainly agree!   Several very important things happen once the white bishop disappears.  Yes, the simple disappearance of the rook is quite important.  But, so is the fact that the pawn structure is breaking up, thus allowing our knight to infiltrate the white camp as well.
Also, because of the total domination that we would be achieving on the light squares, the net result will be a crippled opponent.  One who will have to do everything he wants to do practically on only squares of a certain color: dark...  Does this pose a problem for white?  You bet!  Is it worth an exchange?  You bet!
Just look at how the game continued: 2. fe4 Nf6 3. Be1 Ne4 4. Kg1 Re8 5. Rh3 h5 6. Rf3 Qa6 7. Rf4 Be2 8. Qc2 d5 9. Ra2 Bc4 10. Ra1 b6 10. Ra1 b6.

Black has achieved everything he could have wished, and more.  His pieces have total control of the light squares, and you can just see the benefits of that by looking at our knight and bishop - they simply can not be sent away from there.   Really, what you are looking at is a strangulation of the white pieces, one that will eventually lead to his demise.
As to the exchange, can you really tell that white has an extra one?   I guess you can, if you count the pieces on the board.  But otherwise, you simply can't notice it.  I mean what are the white rooks doing?  Just sitting there - and with so many pawns around, who could blame them for that.  Meanwhile, you must agree , our bishop, does a lot more.
So, remember, it is not always the value of the pieces that counts, but what they actually do on the board!