Unlike the territory-oriented playing style, this approach emphasizes control of the center. The reason for this is that one's play should not be narrowly focused on attempting to secure points quickly by occupying the corners first. Although it requires more effort to secure the center, it constitutes the majority of territory on the board. The key is to build a good framework in order to control the center of the board. Higher points like 4–4, 4–5 or 5–4 are encouraged. Some players occupy the side very quickly in order to build up a good framework, while some place their stones around the center. However, the influence-oriented approach is more abstract and harder for beginners to grasp and play.

The development of fuseki was very limited in the distant past, because nearly all players' efforts were put into making corner plays and enclosures (Joseki). Until about 1900, professional players made use only of a relatively small proportion of the currently established patterns in the opening. The range of possibilities is great, and the number of high-level game records that are actually published is not low (only a few thousand a year).

The Chinese fuseki, which was popularized by Chinese players in the 1970s, has a thoroughly-researched theory.

Since around 1990, there has been a succession of fashionable openings, largely a product of Korean professionals, which have been studied and played in a more chess-like manner (that is, with successive refinements hammered out in high-profile games). This style of innovation is actually something new to the go tradition, however; it is not the traditional way, and there is a large part of go strategy that remains unexplored to that degree of intensity.