At some point, IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti moved beyond simply being a precocious young man—he’s full-fledged wunderkind. Born in 1998 in Boise, Idaho, Luke found early success in chess and academics alike.
A multiple National Chess Champion and All-American Chess Team member, Luke had been crowned the Idaho Chess Champion and had published his first book by the time he was only ten years old. Academics and chess both came easily to him, as he found himself the recipient of numerous academic awards, even while taking advanced classes far beyond his age group. Since then, he has become his home state’s first international master, and at 17 he is looking forward to his senior year at UCLA, finishing up a double-major in Applied Math and Computer Science. He currently fills his free time working as a software development intern at the Santa Monica based startup Heal and coaching some of Southern California's top youth chess players.
Luke’s ultimate goal in chess is to achieve the lauded title of grandmaster, but he admits that his life ambitions extend beyond chess alone. After he finishes his undergraduate degree, Luke wishes to attend medical school to become a doctor, as he has placed a premium on making the greatest positive impact on the world around him. Even so, he has already succeeded in finding ways to use chess as an instrument of good by raising funds for numerous causes through simul charity events. Luke was recently featured in the UCLA Optimists 4.0 ad campaign which highlights significant alumni and undergraduates for their work in the community, He also represented Unicef this past year in their Power to Youth partnership with ING Bank that identified teenagers from around the world who were maximizing their potential.