Ok, let me try this again.
So, in my humble opinion. If you’re just starting out (as a 20-25kyu) you don’t need to do a deep dive into joseki. Just learn 2-3 of the most basic ones so that you’re not flopping around during the opening game. When I was just starting to learn, I used to make A LOT of mistakes during the opening because I didn’t understand what was going on or the priorities for each move. I was making middle-game moves in the opening, and would frequently get myself into trouble.
Here’s a copy/paste of an older post where I use one of the more basic joseki sequences to explain the importance of “settling one’s stones”. Hopefully, this will help you understand why every move in a joseki sequence makes sense.
So let’s start with one of the classic opening sequences:
So, black had a stone at Q16, and then white approaches the corner at O17. White is implicitly attacking black - meaning - if black doesn’t DO SOMETHING, then white will play at R17 or R14 and have a good chance of taking over that corner.
So, black plays calmly at R14. Even if white can do something on the top, black can still get the right side of that corner, and maybe part of the top edge. But now, white is outnumbered! If black plays at M17, white will be in trouble, so now white has two choices. White can restore the balance and play a defensive move like this:
Black’s two stones are matched by white’s two stones, the battle for the corner is far from over, but this small exchange is done for now - the stones are “settled”. Now - what if instead of falling back, white decides that the best defense is a good offense, and tries to grab more of the corner like this:
Since corner and edge real estate is the most valuable/efficient territory in the game, black wants to guard their part of the corner as much as possible. Now that white has counter-attacked, black must do something or white will play at R17 and grab the whole corner.
Black blocks at R17 - which now leaves white out-numbered 3 to 2. So, in order to keep black from surrounding it, white plays at L16 and settles the stones. Even though it went on a little longer, this little sword-fight is now over, and black ended up with the “initiative” to make whatever next attacking move is to be made in the game. So - let’s do some
- Every attacking move implicitly exposes a weakness if the opponent doesn’t respond - always look ahead to what could happen if you don’t defend
- Don’t let your stones get out-numbered in any one area
- Attacking is great but it inevitably puts the attacker off-balance, requiring a defending move once your opponent responds
- Once the stones seem evenly matched, that particular exchange is “settled” and you should look to see whether it makes more sense to keep attacking that same area, or if there are other, more-open areas where you can make more profit with a single attacking move.
If you go to the main OGS site, you can click the Joseki link at the top, and work through these patterns for yourself.
Here’s one for the joseki I just discussed:
Here is the simplest variation of the 3-3 invasion joseki (which you’ll see on OGS a lot)