Salta was invented by German musician Konrad Buttgenbach in 1899. It became very popular when taken up by the famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt. The Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany had a Salta board constructed of solid gold encrusted with precious gems. The name comes from the Latin word "to leap or jump".

Salta board
Figure 1: Salta board


Salta is played on 10 x 10 checkered board. All the play takes place on the dark-colored squares. The board should be aligned so the each player has a light-colored square in the right-hand corner. Each player has 15 pieces usually red and green which are placed on the dark-squares on the three back rows (Figure 1). There are three sets of 5 pieces: in the first row are stars, the second row are moons and the third row are suns. Each piece in a set is marked with a different number of symbols to distinguish from other the pieces in the set.

The object of the game is to move your pieces across the board so that they occupy the opening positions of the opponent with matching pieces from your own side. For example, the single green star must end up at the starting square of the single red star.

The players take turns to move one piece at a time. A piece is moved diagonally either forwards or backwards onto an adjacent vacant square. A piece must jump over an opponent’s piece diagonally in the forward direction only onto a vacant square immediately beyond it. There is no capture and pieces are not removed from the board. If a player omits to jump over the opponent’s piece the opponent calls out "Salta" to remind him that the jump must be performed. The player must take back his last move and perform the jump. A piece may make several jumps in a turn and must do so if possible. If a player has several alternate jumps possible he may choose which jump to perform.

A piece may also jump over a piece of the same color.

The winner is the first player to occupy his opponent’s starting positions.