After trying to describe how I think about moves and where to play, I realized that no one else seems to take the approach I do. So hopefully this helps you in some way, but who knows.
These are the two “axioms” I play with that guide most of my local play:
99% of the moves I consider/read are one of the following four: Extension/Iron Pillar, Diagonal, One Space Jump, Knights Move
Choose a result that ends with a nice shape for me: Tiger’s mouth, filled triangle, table shape, mouth shape, etc.
That’s it really… “How can I make a nice shape”?
Here’s some examples from the Honte book Tokumoto and I were working on that might help. Basically, if you need to overthink it or if you can’t see the answer “right away”, then studying shapes and honte might help you:
And some whole-board problems:
The point of all this is that I personally don’t want to spend too much time thinking about what should be an instinct move. I would rather spend my time reading some annoying fight and get tired from that, than to be tired before that fight even begins.
I’ll also prefer moves like the clamp where either result is good for me and my opponent can spend the time to read it out and put in the effort to count and read. I’ll just play whatever they choose, knowing the result is good for me, and at best mediocre for the opponent.
There’s a lot more, like “when not to defend”, “finding shapes during a fight”, “identifying followups” etc, but, it seems like everyone can at least benefit in some way from being able to simplify their game.