Wesley So Officially Becomes U.S. Citizen
Wesley So is officially a U.S. citizen. Photo provided by Lotis Key.

Wesley So Officially Becomes U.S. Citizen

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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314 | Chess Event Coverage

Reigning U.S. chess champion GM Wesley So is now officially a U.S. citizen. The Filipino-born 27-year-old super-grandmaster got his American citizenship on February 26, 2021, at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in St. Paul/Minneapolis, reports US Chess.

Interviewed by Debbie Cannon of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, So called America "the land of opportunity" as he explained why he wanted to be come a citizen:

I want to give back to a country that has been so good to me. From the moment I landed here I was encouraged and enabled to become better than I was. I like this attitude and the tremendous generosity of American culture. Most people here have no idea what it is like anywhere else in the world, and they don't appreciate the amazing spirit of this country. I have competed in most countries of the world and I can say ... I love it here!

So is thrilled about his citizenship:

I got so hyper and excited I was talking kind of loud all day. It was literally a dream come true. I am now a part of the American Dream. I am part of the most successful country on earth, ready to make my own contribution and have my own legacy here.

I am now a part of the American Dream.
—Wesley So

The news comes a week after GM Levon Aronian's decision to relocate to St. Louis and start representing the U.S. to which So had responded positively: "He is a very nice person as well as a great chess player and I know he will help everyone in chess here to grow."

So has had a great half-year behind him. He tied for first at the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz in September together with GM Magnus Carlsen and then won the PRO Chess League with the St. Louis Arch Bishops as well as the U.S. Championship in October, followed by victories at the Skilling Open in November and the Opera Euro Rapid in February.

So, who lives in Excelsior, Minnesota with his foster family, came to the U.S. in 2012 as a freshman recruit for Webster University. In subsequent years, the three-time Philippine chess champion became one of the most successful chess players worldwide, winning the U.S. Championship twice and winning both the Grand Chess Tour and Olympic team gold in 2016. He is also the reigning Chess960 (Fischer Random) world champion.

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