Just popped into my head this morning: how to use basic U.S. coins as chess pieces.
First: white/black distinguished by heads/tails. Or vice versa.
Then: pawns are pennies.
Then: quarter = rook, nickel = knight, dime = bishop. Bigger on the margins, smaller as you go in.
Then: dime on quarter = queen (because she moves like rook + bishop), nickel on quarter = king (because a king's motion is constrained somewhat like a knight's).
No doubt someone's already come up with this sort of thing before, but, hey: independent lines of convergent evolution just make it all that much cooler.