Playing chess asymmetrically involves choosing the starting position of non-pawn pieces by both players starting with black taking turns choosing which pieces will be on the corresponding back rank squares of each file. The players may choose the pieces for any of the remaining files as they take turns. As an example, Black could start by choosing rooks for the E file, then white could choose bishops for the A file and so on. This differs from playing from many Fischer Random (chess960) starting positions in that the sides of short and long castling are determined by which sides the kings are closest to and furthest away from. As usual kings have to be between rooks and bishops have to be on opposite colors. Two minutes are allowed for each player to choose a piece. This time limit can of course be different.

An example of a first rank starting position when playing chess asymmetrically is BRNKRBNQ. In this example short castling would be on the A side of the board since that is the side the king is closest to and long castling would be on the H side of the board since that is the side the king is furthest away from.