White plays 6.a3 and avoids the more beaten paths of the Semi-Slav. White scores below average (47%) in this line, but the line is largely untested at top levels. It's principal proponent is Epishin who has scored 6/7 with it. Note that the ChessBase opening classification text inserted at the beginning of the game score identifies the opening as "Black avoids the Meran," but it is clearly White who is taking the game out of the Meran. This seems to be a function of ChessBase's opening classification system; it's nondescriptive in this instance.