Attacking in chess is a science that can be broken down into many different moving parts. The entirety of a combination or sequence of moves, when executed well, is often something beautiful to behold and is what brings chess players so much joy. To improve your attacking abilities you should not only study tactics and common patterns, but you will also need a deeper understanding of the factors and steps necessary to carry out an attack.
In the below examples I focus on one such factor, focal points. Identifying and pursuing a specific target or weakness is one of the first steps to executing an attack. In both of the puzzles the basis for the overall attack focuses on the vulnerable g2-pawn.
Although the next example is from a blitz game and the finish is not as clean as Capablanca's in the previous example, the educational value is not diminished.
The idea of focal points is not a new one and I believe that many good chess players identify them almost subconsciously. Nevertheless identifying them is an important skill to develop and a necessary part of a successful attack. Focal points will be one important part of my upcoming workshop on Saturday, October 24th from 6:00-8:00pm on the very subject of attacking a castled king.