The Philippines' loss is the USA's gain.
US chess grandmaster Wesley So is now officially a US citizen according to a report by the US Chess Federation.
“Reigning US Chess Champion and Super Grandmaster Wesley So, originally from the Philippines and currently living in Excelsior, Minnesota, made one of his best moves yet – officially becoming a United States citizen on February 26, 2021 at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in St. Paul/Minneapolis,” the chess governing body said in a report.
So, who has been vocal about his frustrations when he represented the Philippines before, has been playing for the USA since 2014. The 27-year-old Cavite-born So has bewailed the lack of support and corruption he experienced from the Philippine sports agencies before.
In his interview with US Chess, So was ecstatic about the new chapter in his life, but noted that he is not completely turning his back on the Philippines.
“I love that anyone can strive to succeed (here in the US). You are not held back by your color, lack of connections or the amount of money you have. If you work hard, you have a better chance of making it here than anywhere else in the world. I came here ready to work hard, and it turned out just as I dreamed,” So said.
“That does not mean I don't love the Philippines. I have good memories from there. But I did not have the connections needed to succeed in that culture. I was from the province, not a city boy. Had no money etc. I wanted to go further, and there was only one country (where) a nobody can make it. The USA!”
(Thumbnail and banner photos from new.uschess.org)