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Philippine-born chess star Wesley So granted U.S. citizenship

The Philippines has officially lost any hope of bringing back chess champion Wesley So to represent the country.

So, currently No. 9 in the world, became a U.S. citizen on February 26, the US Chess Federation announced Friday (Manila time).

"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," So told Debbie Cannon of the U.S. citizenship and Immigration Services during his citizenship ceremony.

The 27-year-old So, a Super Grandmaster, was born in Bacoor, Cavite but is now residing in Minnesota. So first arrived in the US in 2012 as a freshman recruit for Webster University and began representing the country in 2014.

So briefly talked about the Philippines in the interview as well.

"I love that anyone [here] can strive to succeed. 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," said So.

"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 a nobody [could] make it. The USA!"

So beat world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen last February in an upset at the Opera Euro Rapid chess championship.