For most players a vinyl roll-up chess board is entry level chess board useful at home, casual blitz chess with a friend, or club, or yes, competitive play in scholastic or major events. This all-purpose standard 20" x 20" chess board will be easily recognized at any event and is sized well to be creative with many styles of chess pieces available.
If you're unsure of color, choose green because it assists concentration and is relaxing to eyes.
Wooden chess boards range from rugged to the collectable for finer taste. A well chosen board brings your chess pieces to life like nothing else. Veneer boards are common, with more designs and lower cost and they look great. But if you're the type that wants to know it's solid hardwood, these might not be for you. Solid hardwood chess boards are always more costly to produce and appeal to the those looking for quality they can pass on a generation and beyond.
Novelty chess boards, such as the rubber backed (or mousepad) chess boards with cloth surface can be folded and offer greater flexibility for storage.