Netherlands’ Sebastian Halfhide marking a mark

Sebastian Halfhide at 2015 Groningen Open
Photo by Harry Gielen

The Netherlands is one such country that has a sizeable segment of its population from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Another significant group of migrants come from Suriname, a Dutch-speaking country that lies in northern part of South America. The country of 585,000 borders English-speaking Guyana on the west, French-speaking French Guiana on the east, and Portuguese-speaking Brazil on the south. In the chess world, Suriname may not be well-known, but has an active presence of chess in the country and competes in biennial Olympiad regularly.

Vines Weibolt is a native of Suriname and migrated to the Netherlands with her parents when she was 12 years old. She met her husband after moving back to Suriname and eventually they settled in the Netherlands where her son Sebastian Halfhide was born in 2001. He is an only child. Vines taught him chess at the age of eight and after he showed eagerness, she put him into a local club. Gradually he rose through the ranks as a promising junior and later was bestowed the status of “international talent” by the Dutch Chess Federation.

Sebastian Halfhide at 2016 Grenke Open. He missed IM norm by 1/2-point.

Sebastian Halfhide at 2016 Grenke Open. He missed IM norm by 1/2-point.
Photo by Georgios Souleidis (

Sebastian earned his FM title shortly before his 16th birthday and missed IM norms by 1/2-point in Grenke 2016 and Copenhagen 2017. He continues to progress through the European circuit having played in a number of strong tournaments including Riga, Pardubice, Hastings, Gibraltar, Wijk aan Zee, Basel and Berlin. The summer he scored 7/10 at 2017 Xtracon Open in Denmark, drawing with GM Alexander Shabalov.

Sebastian attends Utrechts Stedelijk Gymnasium, an elite school for gifted students. At 16, he is due to graduate and plans to spend a year to pursue chess endeavors full-time before entering the university. His progress is not without tremendous sacrifices and there is little in the way of sponsorship for rising talents. Currently holding a 2343 FIDE rating, Sebastian hopes to get invitations to continue his progress.

Analysis with Max Warmerdam & Sebastian Halfhide during
2014 Pathena NK Jeugdschaken in Rotterdam

Video by Pathena NK Jeugdschaken Rotterdam

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