A replicated chromosome possesses two discrete, complex, dynamic, macromolecular assemblies, known as kinetochores, that are positioned on opposite sides of the primary constriction of the chromosome. Here, the authors review how kinetochores control chromosome segregation during mitosis in vertebrates. They attach the chromosome to the opposing spindle poles by trapping the dynamic plus-ends of microtubules growing from the poles. They then produce much of the force for chromosome poleward motion, regulate when this force is applied, and act as a site for microtubule assembly and disassembly. Finally, they control the metaphase-anaphase transition by inhibiting chromatid separation until the chromatids are properly attached.